Leave the Farmers Alone!

3 thoughts on “Leave the Farmers Alone!”

  1. The property lines do not extend into the roads Mike, just the ‘fee interest’, as you and I have to the middle of the road on which our properties abut. The majority of the Meadow roads are public ways, some actually accepted and maintained. The Rainbow Beach Conservation Area is a Public Space. The Law requires general public access to Rainbow Beach, and not just from the water. The general public had this access for 5 years, then the farmer took it back, and shut off the beach. This right has been completely thwarted by private property owners. I agree they should not pay a storm water “fee”. That’s ridiculous. But you also can’t allow The Meadows to become private reserve, which some recent farmers believe the meadows to be. Absurd! For the entire history of Northampton, The Meadows are a common public resource, with historic views, ancient ferry roads and since 1980, publicly preserved riverfront space. Since vandalism is the major concern as voiced by meadow landowners, how about getting some actual crime statistics for the Meadows before you simply grant them exclusive access? Btw Mike, many significant Meadow roads are accepted public ways, which you do not mention. No one is driving on private property out there, or they would have been trespassing. Are there any incidents of recorded trespassing that support claims of private roads in the Meadows? I don’t think so. Because it’s a sham for anyone to claim to own the roads in the meadows. Pay the lawyers. Do the surveys. Figure it out. But don’t try to say it’s a private reserve and the public needs to stay out.

    1. I agree, there are probably quite a few roads out there are public ways, but the river has shifted a lot over the years and so have some of the roads, some of which might be just tracks. I agree with you that we ought to have access to Rainbow Beach, but this taxation policy and attitudes at the planning department are not winning friends down there.

    2. You are right; The river has indeed changed the shape of the land near the banks, especially the shape of the bulge of the rainbow and the joining up of Shepherds Island to the shore of the rainbow fields. However, to assert that inland roads have been moved by this shifting of the bank of the river is without any evidence. Compare aerial photos and old and new maps and all assessors maps and known bounds and you will see this is a false claim about most of the roads we know in the meadows. Professional modern surveys have been successfully conducted on many lots in the meadows, as recently as this year. The roads, all the named roads, in these surveys are all boundaries of properties, not part of the parcels. It’s easy to verify. The area in the rainbow that is needed for required access to the public conservation land will of course need public road access to get to it. Actually, access is not a public way problem at all, and was not a problem at the time the land was acquired. At the time the city bought the land, public ways (Sheppard Farm Rd at Rainbow Rd; where Rainbow Beach Gate is)) were how you got there, and where the the public right of way (a 4′ path) trail through the Floodplain Forest and to the beach was to begin. It’s very interesting to read the history and see how we lost access after 5 years. That should never have been allowed to happen. The city has a 1982 Plan For Rainbow Beach from that time on it’s website, if you can find it.

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