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Letter to the editor: Court can solve right of way issue

I am glad to see that the Ferrisburgh/Vorsteveld disagreement over rights-of-way is finally going to court. It will be expensive for both sides (sorry guys) but the time is way overdue for a more in-depth review of the reasons for rights-of-way, their usages and their oversight.
The initial reason for a public right-of-way made sense; i.e. to enable travel throughout an area without the need to obtain permission from each landowner to traverse their land.
But, common sense would also lead us to believe that the landowner did not intend to give the local government the right to use that land in any way the local government desired.
In this case much has been said about the loss of the “shaded canopy” that was lost through the work of the landowner. And, in the days when transportation was by horse and foot, preservation of such a canopy made sense. However we are well beyond that period and, in fact, nowadays a sunny roadway results in a better (drier) roadway. Also if you happen to leave the road nowadays it is much better to go into an open field rather than up against a shade tree.
My hope is that the final disposition of this issue results in a clearer definition of the usage of a public right-of-way and that the rights of the individual landowner will take precedent.
Jim Peabody Sr.
Bristol

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