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Easton Officials Spar Over Driveway Bonds

EASTON, Conn. — A small claims lawsuit over a 2004 driveway bond is pitting Town Clerk Derek Buckley, who is demanding that the town take action, against First Selectman Thomas Herrman, who says Easton has rules in place to handle the issue.

Former Easton resident Thomas Readey, in his lawsuit filed against the town, says he delivered a $2,500 bond to the town July 16, 2004, “to cover the installation of a driveway apron” at 250 Maple Road. The suit claims that the apron was installed, “inspected and approved by the town on or before Oct. 6, 2009.” In the lawsuit, Readey says he has yet to receive the money.

Buckley said Tuesday he finds fault with the way town officials are handling driveway bonds. He issued a letter Tuesday to the Board of Selectmen asking it to adopt a protocol for returning driveway bonds to residents who abide by town inspections.

“In conversations with employees, residents and others it appears to be general knowledge that it is very difficult to get a driveway bond refunded in Easton. The town has a very poor reputation, and something should be done to restore it,” Buckley wrote.

“It is bad for the town’s reputation when people are told to 'suck it up,' forget the money and get on with their life. It is also bad for Easton’s reputation when people are passed around and nobody is prepared to take responsibility,” he wrote.

The town is taking responsibility for driveway bonds and already has a protocol in place for handling the issue, Herrmann said Tuesday. “Derek is confused because this is not part of what the town clerk does. He needs to get up to speed on the permit process and application procedures,” Herrmann said.

According to information supplied by Herrmann, a Driveway Ordinance was enacted in Easton in 1980. The purpose is to ensure that residents have a working and up-to-code driveway, which prevents damage to town roads and residential properties.

The documents state that the purpose of a driveway permit is to prevent water from a private property from flowing directly into the roadway or for water in the town roadways to flow into a resident’s property.

The permit also prevents erosion to a road's shoulder; prevents accumulation of debris and dirt in the roadway; and eliminates hazardous driveway conditions.

Property owners, under the ordinance, must put down a $2,500 bond to ensure driveway work is done correctly. The permit acts as insurance for the town if the work is done incorrectly.

According to town documents, “if approved and a bond was required, the bond is released by the Board of Selectmen.”

Herrmann declined to comment on why Readey did not receive his $2,500 bond because the case is in to the courts. But he said he expected the Board of Selectmen to discuss the issue at the Thursday night meeting.

“I think we might discuss it, but I don’t see it really as an action item because we already have a town policy on road opening permits,” Herrmann said.

Numerous calls placed Tuesday to Department of Public Works Director Ed Nagy were not returned.

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