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Road collapse causes more than just road rifts.

Chinmoy Lane, a quite cul de sac in the Merryall section of our town has become quite the topic here lately. On Monday, March 7th, at about 7:00 am, the road collapsed. Apparently a culvert washed away, leaving a 30 foot chasm, separating Chinmoy Lane residents from the rest of the world. Underground power lines went with the road, leaving them powerless, in more ways than one. Chinmoy Lane is home to about 20 families.

Tensions have been high. Residents of nearby Carl's Lane were inundated with town officials and the Department of Public Works. One resident was scared to death as the town told her they would put an easement on her property and build a road. She felt as if she was given little to no choice in the matter, and didn't understand what was going on. She didn't know at the time her septic was at the edge of the road they proposed, so it was a no go. All she knew was she was scared the town would own a large piece of her property forever, that she would have a road attached to her driveway forever. The terms that have become familiar to those of us in real estate like easement, or license, or even the dreaded adverse possession are often totally misunderstood by the general public.

Residents of Carl's Lane were told by their insurance companies not to allow anyone to pass through their properties. The New Milford Police Department instructed them to put up "No Trespassing" signs. It became a heated battle between the two roads being played out in the press. Understand, the configuration of the lots on Carl's Lane would put septic systems, driveways, wells, etc., at risk. And due to the heavy snows we have received, on top of the heavy rains, the yards were saturated already. The residents of Carl's Lane were asking to be indemnified by the town, but were told it was not possible. Stories were put out in the newspapers, vilifying these people who wanted to do the right thing in many cases, but were unable or too scared, or just plain confused. The word "easement" was tossed in their faces by officials pounding on their doors, they were petrified. It was not explained to the ones I know that a temporary easement, known as a license, could have solved the problem, then the town could indemnify the owners. Once the temporary bridge was in the temporary easement could have been removed, the temporary road removed, all would have been well, if indeed their was a way to put the road in without damaging their own properties. However.... there was no way, in many cases, to cut a road through because of septic systems, etc. Bad news... bad bad news. I wish the newspapers had really investigated instead of reporting the story as one sided as they did.

Michael and Kathleen Gold of West Meetinghouse Rd granted access, a temporary road was put at the far end of their property, and the residents of Chinmoy are free at last. I know Michael, I am not surprised that he jumped in to help. The town owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. & Mrs. Gold for their generosity. Although I would say the road is scary at best, but it is a way in and out. No more worries about being stranded at the very least. My friend Ann Fisher and myself took the new access road today, to try and get a better handle on the issue these people are facing. We came away with some pretty amazing photos of the power of Mother Nature, and a sense of frustration for all the residents of both Chinmoy Lane and Carl's Lane.

Next Thursday a 60 foot temporary bridge from the State of Connecticut is being installed over the roadway that collapsed. Work will begin to repair the damage and put things back as they were. But one wonders if the neighborhoods of both Chinmoy Lane and Carl's Lane will ever be the same again, they have both been hurt in this horrible disaster, more then we can possibly imagine.

View Chinmoy Lane Road Collapse in a larger map

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor


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Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776


© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

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Comment balloon 9 commentsAndrea Swiedler • March 13 2011 06:19PM


It's nice to have good neighbors.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Andrea - I think thhis is the same thing that they call here a "sinkhole". And here it is a big problem because of sandy soft soils.

What an ordeal, though...

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) about 9 years ago

People do such weird things in times of stress.  Thankfully somebody with a good head (and kind heart) prevailed and helped out their neighbors regardless of what the press was making it out to be.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) about 9 years ago


An amazing story, and folks would be well served by heeding the advice to lot allow temporary easements through their properties.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) about 9 years ago

Lenn, it was a scary and hairy week, but they are free now. Not without some hard feelings though.

Jon, I don't know if it is a sink hole, but whatever it is, it is horrible.

Anna Banana, if the town had only asked the residents to have an attorney explain to them what they were looking for, if the town had explained that a temporary easement to allow the residents to even walk out would have allowed the town to indemnify the residents of Carl's Lane... if if if.. but the residents were bombarded then made to look like the bad guys in the press. I feel for all of them. The terms of the easement the Gold's have provided to the town are not yet disclosed, I am sure it is temporary, and I am sure he had all the information to protect himself before he granted access. It was a bad situation made worse by misinformation and the press.

Richard, they did what they had to do to protect themselves, with almost no information. The rest of the residents are clueless as to why the residents of Carl's Lane behaved as they did. It is a good thing Mr. & Mrs. Gold were able to determine that they could indeed allow a temporary easement with little to no damage or impact to their property. A blessing in fact for those who were stuck.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 9 years ago

Andrea.. I caught some of this story on the news.  It is amazing how quick land can give way.  What a terrible event to live through.  Glad no one was hurt.

Posted by Valerie Osterhoudt, ABR, Cromwell, CT Real Estate ~ 860.883.8889 (Johnson Real Estate, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Valerie, it was amazing that no one was hurt. Just a bit later and we would be talking a bit of a different story.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) about 9 years ago

Wow.. you never know when that will be your road to your neighborhood. As humans, we should all help each other when a problem arises....

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) about 9 years ago

Wow, that's an amazing story and some equally amazing photos of what nature can do.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago