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Hiddenhurst Farm seeks lower speed limit

MILLERTON — Town Supervisor Dave Sherman addressed a letter from Hiddenhurst Farm owners Robert and Encarnita Quinlan during the Thursday, Nov. 10, Town Board meeting. The Quinlans’ letter complained of high speeds along Sheffield Hill Road, where their estate is located, and requested the town’s interference.“This is a formal request to the town of North East board of supervisors to set a 30 mph speed limit on Sheffield Hill Road, the linking road between County Route 1 [Sharon Station Road] and County Route 58 [Coleman Station Road],” the letter stated. “Both of these roads already have 30 mph speed limits. In the absence of signage limiting the speed, the state speed limit of 55 mph now applies to Sheffield Hill Road.”As per state law, when there is no speed limit posted on a road in New York state, the limit automatically defers to the state speed limit of 55 miles per hour.The Quinlans stated the traffic that uses the road in question demands a lower limit, for safety reasons, if nothing else.“For many years, we residents have witnessed both cars and heavy trucks, carrying compostable waste, traveling at close to that speed on Sheffield Hill Road and continuing down the steep hill to the Rail Trail,” the letter continued, referring to the nearby composting site owned by McEnroe Organic Farm. “Failing brakes at high speeds where bikes and pedestrians cross the road is an ongoing concern. It is also a danger for the many walkers and bicyclists on Sheffield Hill Road.”The letter went on to state that in the summer the road is “popular in the evening for drag racing.” While that comment drew disagreement from the audience and some board members at the Town Board meeting when read aloud, there have been reports of dangerous car racing in the community.“I’ve certainly encountered some situations where people were doing dumb things with cars, and the Quinlans’ property joins roads where there are a number of instances where cars go way too fast for the situation, and I would support Bob and Encarnita in having that change,” said Dale Culver, owner of the nearby Round Tuit restaurant. Culver added he’s seen many from the younger generation take risks, such as drag racing. “One of the things we constantly want to work on around here is having kids make fewer destructive decisions.”The Quinlans stated in their letter that other residents living in their neighborhood would be willing to support the request and add their names to a petition, if the town so desired.Sherman asked the Highway Committee to look into the matter. Councilman Steve Merwin countered that he didn’t give the complaint much merit.“There’s no way in hell these trucks are going 55,” he said.But the supervisor persisted, and asked the committee to meet and possibly decide on an action it can recommend to the county, and then the state, potentially for a lower speed limit posting.

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