“AlleyGate” – How Much Will The Taxpayers Have To Pay?

August 23, 2013
by Len Lathrop

Before Hudson Selectmen during their August 13 meeting was the land use problem of two alleys that run from Fulton Street to Gillis Street.  Selectmen are divided and conflicted on whether citizens can use town property as their own, or not to allow any usage at all, unless the property is purchased from the town.

The history of why these alleyways were created could date back to 1949, according to a Gillis Street resident, when the alleys might have been planned for fire protection for the home that faced Central Street, but that can’t be documented.  Complicating the resolution is that, as reported by Selectman Ted Luszey during the meeting on the 13th, the deed research by town staff at the Hillsborough Country Court found that some properties had the alleyway added to their property deeds by Selectmen action in 1984.

This issue appears to have been before the town zoning officer since early May of 2012, shortly after one of the Gillis Street properties was sold and parking rights started to be disputed.  Hudson Selectmen have had this before them since the spring of this year with the HLN first reported to our readers on June 28, 2013, when a public hearing was held as part of that week to establish a town ordinance to regulate the usage.

Chairman Maddox, during a June meeting, had cautioned the members that an ordinance restriction usage of town land could have a town-wide effect, as many taxpayers have annexed the land to their property.

While the ordinance has been tabled since the June meeting to allow residents and the selectmen time to review the issue, that review has complicated any resolution with abutters in galley for the meeting.  Luszey looked for a motion to hire a real estate attorney to review all the legal issues and offer recommendations.  He was quickly questioned by Selectmen Roger Coutu as to the cost of that alternative, and speculation of that cost and who would be responsible became heated.  Coutu suggested not taking any actions and let the neighbors work in out.  Following heated discussions the board asked Town Administrator Maliza to get a quote as to what a real estate lawyer would cost for the next meeting.

This matter, when and if resolved, could have a long-reaching effect on all of Hudson residents.