TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously May 6 in favor of starting the process to establish the town’s title to the old Main Street right of way.

The board authorized town staff to work with attorney John Moncure to settle Topsham’s ownership claim in that area of town, near Green Street and the old fire station, and to spend no more than $1,000. Moncure estimated that the cost of the process will not exceed that amount.

Although the board opted a year ago not to spend money to establish ownership of the right of way, the potential of development there in the near future prompted the panel to reconsider the issue last week.

John Shattuck, Topsham’s director of economic and community development, recommended the town establish ownership before competing claims are made.

Selectman Sandra Consolini said she agreed completely with Shattuck’s call for the claim settlement. “There seems to be a time coming close that that area could be developed, and I think it’s in the best interest of the town to find out what exactly we own,” she said.

“If we’re going to do this, I think it’s OK to do this now,” Town Manager Jim Ashe said, noting that he would not have recommended the expenditure in recent months, but felt comfortable doing so now.

Selectman Jim Trusiani pointed out that the town has continued to plow that area, “and I think that will also help us establish ownership of it.”

Shattuck added that while the state may have abandoned its use and designation of that road, the town has never abandoned its use or claim on it.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

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