Kirby Select Board Moves To Close Victory Road To Wheeled Traffic

The Kirby Select Board has decided to shut Victory Road to wheeled-traffic for the winter due to the road being used as a snowmobile trail in the winter. The board had earlier opted to leave the road open, but was recently asked by VAST and residents of the road to close it for safety. (File Photo by Amy Ash Nixon)

KIRBY — At the most recent meeting of the Kirby Select Board, a couple who live on Victory Road — Flower and Jerry Toomey — implored the board to close the road for the winter as has been done in years past, because the road is used as a part of the VAST snowmobile trail in the winter.

The board had earlier decided to keep Victory Road open this winter.

But after hearing the Toomeys concerns expressed, the board voted unanimously at its meeting to close Victory Road to wheeled vehicles effective today, Jan. 17.

The board made the motion to close Victory Road at its meeting on Jan. 3, but not to act on the motion until Jan. 17, to give two weeks’ time to notify all landowners along Victory Road of the town’s shift in plans for this winter.

Some landowners had expressed concern in the past about the road being closed, which was discussed at the recent meeting, the record shows.

In the draft minutes of the recent meeting, it was noted that the couple had attended the select board meeting “… to ask the Selectboard to close the Victory Road and put up blocks so vehicles cannot drive on the road.”

“Flower explained that they are snowmobiling out from their house now and the other day she met a vehicle on the road and ended up in the ditch for two hours,” the minutes reflect. “She stated that it is dangerous to have wheeled vehicles traveling this road now that it is being used as a snowmobile trail.”

Additionally, “She also stated that there is someone that drives on the snowmobile trail almost every time it is groomed.”

The discussion at the meeting included the board asking, “When is the road considered to be open as a snowmobile trail by VAST?”

“Jeff Hayes, who grooms the trail, stated that VAST considers trails open from Dec. 15-April 15,” the minutes note. “However, it is technically closed at this time because of lack of snow.” He was in attendance at the recent meeting where the concerns over Victory Road were raised.

The board also asked the visitors in attendance with concerns over Victory Road, “When should the road be closed to wheeled vehicles as some landowners still want to drive to their camps as long as the road is bare or has very little snow?”

“The Selectboard stated that last year they put the blocks up and closed the road right after muzzle loader season and several landowners complained that they could not drive to their camps as the road was still bare at the time,” it was noted in the meeting’s minutes.

A question asked at the meeting was, “Who is in charge of the road – the Selectboard or VAST?”

“It was stated that it is the Selectboard,” according to the record. “It was pointed out that the road is a mess now because vehicles have been traveling on it, and that three vehicles have recently gotten stuck.”

The record goes on, stating, “It was noted that this is a major VAST trail. It was noted that this would not be a problem if there was more snow as VAST usually piles up a big mound of snow at the end of the road.

“After much discussion about safety and landowners rights the Selectboard decided that the road will be closed to all wheeled-vehicles as of January 17, 2022 and after landowners along the road are notified as to the date of closure.”

Equalization Study Results

In other business, the draft minutes from the recent meeting show that, “The Board noted the 2021 Equalization Study results received for the Vermont Department of Taxes. It was noted that the Common Level of Appraisal is now 94.43 percent, which is down from over 100 percent last year, and The Coefficient of Dispersion is higher this year at 11.11 percent. Both are due to high sales of properties over the last year.

“Lister Marla Waring stated that the Listers did fight a few of the sales included and were able to get them removed which helped some. However, sales have been on the high side, not only in Kirby but throughout the State, so a lot of towns are facing the same situation,” the record shows. It was also noted that this will affect the school rate as it will have to be adjusted to the 100 percent level.”

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