Rocky Hill Farmers Fed Up With Vandals Using Public Road To Target Private Properties

Some farmers in Rocky Hill said they wanted town officials to help stop vandals who are using a public road to vandalize private property.

“We’ve had vandalism in the past," said Lisa Gilbert.

Gilbert's family has run Gilbert Farm for years and during that time the property has been torn up by vandals on ATVs and dirt bikes riding over her crops.

Gilbert and other farmers said that other people have been allowing their unleashed dogs to defecate in among the crops.

“I've had pumpkins stolen; pumpkins run over. I’ve had corn demolished on me," Gilbert said.

In the middle of hundreds of acres of privately-owned farmland known as The Meadows, is a narrow gravel public road -- Meadow Road -- which is maintained by the town.

Because of recent flooding, a large yellow gate at the end of Meadow Road has been closed and locked. Only landowners' vehicles are allowed to go beyond that point. The gate was set to reopen, but several farmers said that it should stay locked as it is.

“It opens it up for vandals and for theft and people who are down there to just make trouble," said Michele Collins of Fair Weather Acres.

The town's Public Safety Committee is discussing about continuing to restrict motor vehicles from Meadow Road in the future, but some residents believe there needs to be a better solution.

“It’s a public road and I pay taxes to maintain it," Rocky Hill resident, John Bedlack, said. "I think it should be closed at night but I think it should be opened in the day time."

The farmers are concerned that damage to their crops will do even more damage to their livelihoods.

“We’re not going to be able to sustain, the way we are," said Collins.

Town leaders listened to public comment on the issue at a meeting on Monday. No decision about changing the related town ordinance was made. The town council will continue the discussion at its next meeting in two weeks.

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