Berlin takes first step toward north end pond accessJune 18,2013
By David Delcore
BERLIN — More than a year after the Vermont Supreme Court struck down century-old restrictions on recreation at Berlin Pond, at least one lawyer will be taking a hard look at just who owns a triangular parcel of property on the north end of Montpelier’s public drinking water supply.
In a move that could pave the way for creating a formal access area for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get out on the pond, the Select Board unanimously agreed this week to ask the town’s attorney, Rob Halpert, to determine whether Montpelier really has the right to post property that records suggest might actually belong to Berlin.
The decision came on a night when the board also got a bad bit of news involving financing for a proposed water system, declined a request to consider sharing their police chief with neighboring Northfield, and agreed to schedule a special election next month so voters can weigh in on proposed zoning changes.
However, with the agenda including the fresh recommendation of a citizens committee appointed to explore alternatives to an informal access area on Mirror Lake Road, it was Berlin Pond that attracted a small crowd to the town offices Monday night.
Among those in the audience were Oreste Valsangiacomo Jr., the Barre lawyer who convinced the Supreme Court that Montpelier had no authority to regulate recreational use of Berlin Pond, and one of his clients in the precedent-setting case, Barre Town resident Rick Sanborn.
Both men were silent spectators on a night when Robert Wernecke did most of the talking.
As expected, Wernecke, the chairman of the committee that has spent the past several months evaluating potential access areas around the pond, urged the board to verify his informed opinion that Montpelier does not own quite as much land around the pond as the “No Trespassing” signs it has posted would lead one to believe.
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