SEARSPORT — Several residents of Trout Brook Lane, along with people from the surrounding roads of Spruce Knoll Lane and Sandy Ridge Lane, pleaded with the Select Board Dec. 7 about how their road has become a hazard over the past several months.

After several storms and a downpour in late October, a section of the road near the Spruce Knoll Lane side washed away. The town placed cones to prevent people from driving over the area, and recently erected wooden barricades.

According to one resident, the last storm washed away the cones, which were crushed by rocks also borne along by runoff. “Something more needs to be done beneath there before somebody gets killed,” she said.

Since the road belongs to a neighborhood association, Town Manager James Gillway said the town does not own the road and has no right to be there. “We are asking for legal advice,” he said.

Homeowners on Trout Brook said it is a question of safety now, with only a small dirt road on the Sandy Ridge Lane side as a point of egress. One speaker said many of the residents are in their 80s with health issues and depend on the Fire Department or ambulance service to be able to get through in case of an emergency.

One resident said if you look at where the road has washed away, “you see the blacktop and you don’t see anything underneath. There’s nothing holding it up.” They questioned whether the builder followed appropriate standards in constructing the street.

Gillway said in 2001 when the subdivision was developed, there was no ordinance or standard pertaining specifically to roads, and the town did not order the developer to form an association for the upkeep of the roads. Five years later, the Planning Board did make the developer start a road association for the second part of the development, he said.

“A lot of new homes have been built on top of the hill, and they have been covered by that,” he said. About five years after the first subdivision was started, the developer asked the town to take over  maintenance of the road, which the town refused to do.

“There were issues with inspection. Trout Brook Lane in particular had a real serious problem with the way barriers were placed to keep the road above the culvert,” Gillway said.

In 2005, when Gillway became town manager, he said, he sent a letter to the developer to see if there were any engineering specifications in case the town wanted to take back the road. Gillway said he never got a response.

Board member Steve Tanguay asked if there are any standards builders need to follow. “Absolutely,” Gillway said. From the substrate used to how much pavement is added, even the contours of the road are all spelled out.

A couple of years ago, Gillway said, the developer did do some repairs to the road after washouts developed. “They put some cement on it,” he said. “I felt comfortable enough to stand on the barricade over the cement, but I wouldn’t even go near the edge today.”

He continued, “I’m trying to keep the town out of trouble, but I’ll do everything that I can to protect the people that want to cross from there. They will let me dump gravel. I’ll dump a bunch of gravel at the end of that road, but I want to make sure I can do it without getting us all in trouble as a town.”

Gillway said the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has been called to do a complete inspection of Morrow Brook, a small stream that runs underneath the area where the road has washed away. Runoff from the road has blocked the culvert and the stream’s passage.

Ultimately, he said, the situation may end up in court as a civil matter. “I know that’s not what everybody wants to hear right now,” Gillway said.

Select Board Chairman Doug Norman echoed Gillway’s sentiment, saying, “We’ll do everything we can for you. It seems like a simple matter, but unfortunately it isn’t. If our lawyers or Maine Municipal Association tell us we can do something, we will do it.”

Reached by phone Dec. 17, an associate from the development company said it had not been contacted by residents about the current situation or about the Select Board meeting, and added the company would be open to a roundtable discussion on developing an association.

In other business, wages for ambulance personnel were discussed with the new option that crews could be on call from their homes instead of having to be at the station.

The new pay scale proposed by Safety Director Todd Boisvert would give ambulance drivers $5 an hour to be on call with a boost to $14 when a call comes in. On-call EMTs would receive $7 an hour with a boost to $16, while paramedics would get $8 an hour on call and $19 for calls.

These wages, Gillway explained, are tiered, with raises coming after the first and second years. For drivers, wages would increase the second year to $14 an hour for every call, while EMTs would get $17 an hour and paramedics would receive $20 an hour per call. Third-year hourly wages include $16 for drivers, $18 for EMTs and $21 for paramedics.

Gillway said previously that the town paid crews $13 an hour to be at the station with a boost in pay once a call came in. While at the building, he said, they had duties to perform, such as cleaning, updating equipment and cleaning the rigs. There was a checklist they had to follow each time they came to work, he said.

Boisvert said the scenario with two attendants at the station, a driver and an EMT, would be optimal, but added, “Right now we’re not getting that.”

Once a call does come in, Boisvert said, on-call personnel will be expected to be at the station quickly. “I want the truck to be out the door within seven minutes,” he said. “If two people are in the building, it should be out the door within a minute.”

The Select Board also approved the Fire Department cost recovery policy, which allows the department to seek fees for emergency calls made to nonresidents within town limits. Residents making negligent calls would also be billed.

Starting in mid-January, free interactive technology classes will be offered at Union Hall on a variety of topics. A volunteer will facilitate the classes, which will be taught by an instructor on the Zoom platform. Attendees are asked to enroll at https://digitalequitycenter.org/classes/enroll/. For more information, call 259-5010.