Right-of-way near Mast Street obvious
This letter is in reference to the article appearing in the April 18 issue of the Jamestown Press, “Harbor Board mulls how to regulate town rights-ofway” by Margo Sullivan.
In the article, Harbor Commissioner Patrick Bolger stated that there are 27 Jamestown rights-of-way, but only 13 are recognized by the state. During an open forum at the Harbor Commission’s April 10 meeting, Jamestown resident Sav Rebecchi questioned what the commission could do to deal with homeowners who illegally block access to the waterfront. Mr. Rebecchi stated he has personal experience with the problem after he purchased a house in the Mast Street area 13 years ago. He could not find the right-of-way at the end of Mast Street because, he said, it was camouflaged like a yard, had a fence on one side, and “a great big dog.” Mr. Rebecchi goes on to describe the right-of-way as a “secret path.”
I also moved to Jamestown about 13 years ago and have a totally different experience with the Mast Street rightof way compared to that described by Mr. Rebecchi. The first time I walked south on Seaside Drive, I encountered and met the owners abutting the rightof way and complimented them on how well they maintained their beautifully landscaped yard. They immediately informed me about the right-ofway, showing me exactly where it was, even though it was quite obvious.
However, they did warn me that the section going down to the water was not maintained (by the town?) and could be difficult to navigate. It ap- peared to me to be outright dangerous.
I did see the fence to the south of the right-of-way, but it was on private property. Also, I have never seen a “great big dog” in the area, as the abutting owners do not own dogs. Except for the section going down to the water, the right-of-way is beautifully maintained and is an asset to the area. Many people use it for boating and even swimming.
If signage should be used to identify the right-of-way, I feel we should also use signage to describe the descent area as hazardous. This is a liability issue and I would not want to see the town involved in expensive litigation at the expense of taxpayers. Clearly, this is not in the best interest of the town.
It is obvious that all rights-ofway should be treated in a similar fashion and that no right-of-way be discriminated against. Furthermore, all rights impose responsibilities. Right-of-way users should do so in a respectful manner and only legal activities should be allowed. Individual cleanup after use should be required.
While we are discussing the Jamestown shoreline issue, perhaps we should tie this into homeland security. The terrorists involved in the Boston Marathon bombings had ties to UMass Dartmouth and a North Kingstown residence – both very close to Jamestown. We should be keenly diligent as to what is happening along our shoreline, especially in the area of high-cost infrastructure such as the two magnificent bridges that so vitally connect us to the mainland.
What are we doing to safeguard the base of these bridges to possible extremist activity?