July 1, 2022

Essex Selectmen Consider Discontinuing Toby Hill Road

ESSEX— Hoping to avoid a possible expense to the town for improvements, the board of selectmen is considering discontinuing Toby Hill Road in the Ivoryton section.

The board discussed the option of discontinuing, or abandoning, the road at a meeting last week. Toby Hill Road is an unimproved dirt and gravel run that runs north from Pond Meadow Road in to Westbrook. The proposal, which was recommended by the planning commission in a vote taken earlier this year, would discontinue the road from the intersection with Pond Meadow Road north to the Westbrook town line.

There are currently two homes on the Ivoryton section of the road, and numerous residential subdivisions off a paved section of the road in Westbrook.

First Selectman Phil Miller said developer Paul Vumbaco is planning a subdivision that could include six building lots in Westbrook and two building lots in Ivoryton. The potential development could require improvements to both the Ivoryton and Westbrook segments of the road. There are currently no land use applications pending for the development in Essex.

Miller said both he and the planning commission are concerned the town could be forced to help pay for costly improvements to the road, which intersects Pond Meadow Road on a sharp curve with poor sightlines for vehicle traffic.

Miller said the discontinuance of the road in Ivoryton would require approval from the selectmen and voters at a town meeting. Officials in Westbrook are also considering discontinuance of the southernmost section of the road to the Essex town line.

The selectmen deferred further discussion of the issue to a future meeting at the request of Robert Doane, a local engineer who is working with Vumbaco. Miller said Doane requested a chance to discuss the matter with the board.