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Portion of Gifford St. abandoned

January 27, 2011

Gifford Street, a portion of which is now abandoned, where residents on Centre Street did improvements though they did not have permission from the town.

A public hearing was held on the abandonment of a portion of Gifford Street at Monday night’s town council meeting.
Gifford Street, though never developed by the town, crosses over Centre Street and runs behind Laurel Avenue.
Ryan DiFranco, of 18 Centre St., along with his neighbor at 20 Centre St. had done numerous improvements to the property even though it was town-owned land.
At Monday’s town council meeting DiFranco said he thought he was “improving the neighborhood” and did not think it would have offended anybody.
DiFranco said had he known that it would he would have approached the situation differently.
“I do apologize,” he said, for taking steps “in the wrong way.”
There were concerns expressed about whether DiFranco is allowed to park his work trailer on the property once it is abandoned.
The council made it clear, however, that that was an issue for the town’s zoning officer and not for the council.

Concerns about draining issues were also raised, but DiFranco’s across-the-street neighbor testified that drainage was not an issue.
Manuel Kotkofski, of 56 Laurel Dr., which is around the corner from the portion of Gifford Street that was to be abandoned, expressed frustration with all that had gone on with Gifford Street.
He said he was calling for a special investigation for “all the illegal clearing of the land.”
The council did not commit to an investigation at any point during the hearing.
Kotkofski wanted to know why DiFranco had been “destroying town property and not being fined.”
DiFranco had been cited for trespassing on town property, but it was stayed as a result of his request for the abandonment of the portion of Gifford Street.
Now that the property has been abandoned DiFranco will work with the town to purchase the property, something that the town hopes to do at “fair market value.”
Councilman Raymond Spear abstained from the vote because he did not feel that the council had resolved the anxiety or concerns of residents in the local area.
The abandonment still passed 3 to 1.

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