SALEM — For several decades, it has been unclear who has owned two boat docks on Arlington Pond off Olson Road.
It recently came to the attention of town officials that two Olson Road residents were using the docks to tie up their pontoon boats, and now the town is working with those residents to see if there is a way they can take ownership of those docks.
“Those docks have been there in some form for a number of years,” said Town Manager Keith Hickey. “There has been some question over what use for that piece of property was in the past.”
There was some thought that the property was potentially a common lot that could be used by people in the neighborhood who did not have frontage on the lake.
However, Hickey said town staff found documentation indicating the property was taken over by the town between 20 to 30 years ago.
The issue came to the attention of the town after it widened a pathway to the water in order to get vehicles down to it for dam maintenance.
With the wider road, Hickey said the town began getting some complaints about people using the path for four-wheelers and other activity.
Hickey said he has been working with the property owners using the docks to come up with a solution that is amenable to both sides.Nimo Parikh of 6 Aulson Road said that the town easement to get to the dam runs through his property and was originally a small dirt path before being widened, leading to the increased traffic.
Parikh said he has lived on the lake for a dozen years, while neighbor Gina Leone-Osgood and her family have lived there for nearly 30 years.
During that time, he said both families have worked to maintain the docks and the area along the lake.
Parikh and Osgood said they want to continue to use the land on the lake.
“We do not want to just put up docks,” he said. “Our intent is to keep this as a resource for our family and for Gina and her family.”
Osgood said other people in the neighborhood have also used the property over the years and have always been responsible and maintained it.
Selectmen agreed that they would have the town staff look into the possibility of selling the property through a public auction, giving the families an opportunity to buy it.
However, because it came to the board’s attention that boats were docked on public property, they asked Parikh and Osgood to remove their boats to avoid town liability.
Hickey said he would also speak with the public works department to see if they could put a gate or barricade.
“Gina and Nimo have been very helpful and cooperative and we will stay in touch,” said Hickey.