Rockin’ By The Roadside

An alert reader has noticed a new Westport trend.

Homeowners are putting rocks — in some cases, mini-boulders — on their grass near the road.

The corner of Duck Pond and Harbor Road.

I’m not sure why. Is it to prevent illegal parking? Deter drivers from pulling over to use their cell phones? Stop sloppy driving? Purely decorative?

Also Duck Pond and Harbor Roads — this other side of the street.

It seems to mark property in a fairly clear way.

The other side of town: Beachside Avenue. Some big movie guy lives here.

Have you done this? Thought about it? Do you like it or hate it? Click “Comments” to comment.

75 responses to “Rockin’ By The Roadside

  1. Hey Dan,
    I think it is a deterrent from kids doing “hole shots” or ” break burners” on their nicely manicured strips of lawn. Do kids do this anymore? I don’t think the homeowners have anything to worry about. We kid’s had Camaro’s, Corvette’s and Barracuda’s today’s kids have Porsche’s, and BMW’s. Yesterday I saw “Johnny 17 year old” driving an 80,000.00 Porsche, I have a funny feeling he will not be doing any brake binders with it.

  2. In most cases, it’s not “their” grass..it’s the Town’s property. Public Works may have something to say about this practice. Boulders can also create problems for pedestrians who do have the right to walk in the road borders and sometimes have to jump there to avoid vehicles.

  3. Yep, deterrents. Doesn’t seem like that bad an idea until it snows and you can’t see the stones; two winters ago I saw one poor woman pull over to the side of the road to let speed demons by and she caught the underside of her car on one of these babies. Not fun.

  4. We have done this because of 2 reasons. The first is that we have neighbors who have major parties and park all across our grass and then leave their trash and destroy the property. The second reason is due to a Postal truck that would park there to either take a quick break or switch out their bins and during wet weather, the grass was ripped up too. What would you do?

  5. If it’s on private property–not town land–and that’s what the owners are doing to protect or mark their property in some fashion, I don’t see any problem with it.

  6. I did this at my property because of people destroying the berm between my fence and the road. They just felt it was their right, using the same, LAME and Un-factual diatribe that it is town land. These people need some learnin’ and to actually get a ticket so they can “understand” that you don’t park on other peoples lawns.ON, not next to. I had people tear tread marks through my garden.

    The idiots who claim it’s town land are totally incorrect. It is MY land, I pay taxes on it as such and am responsible for maintaining and protecting my property.

    There is a right of way for the town if it needs to dig for sewer issues. That’s what the ignorant screamers about “it belongs to the town” are talking about. A right of way access sinply means that. You are not allowed to construct on the berm but you can protect it with boulders. It’s a great idea. ANd it works, and it stops the problem immediately.

  7. Westport Convert

    It’s their property, they have the right to do with it as they please. Why are we always trying to “police” our fellow neighbors and Westport residents?

    Give it a rest, please!

    WC

  8. Eric Buchroeder

    Well, its only a matter of time until we’ll see what happens. All arguments make at least some degree of sense but I fear that at some point somebody tries to pull off the road to make away for an emergency vehicle in the snow, can’t see the rocks and either destroys their car or decides to just stop in the road and either causes an accident that could kill somebody or gets arrested. Its anybody’s guess how that would sort itself out. The question is: Is the current inconvenience worth the potential consequence? I don’t know. I’m looking forward to see how the town handles it. Should be fun. I personally don’t think it should be allowed but I’m not sure whether or not the town cares enough to pursue a movie mogul and/or everybody else that’s engaging in this practice. It’ll be in Dan’s next book, I predict. It could only be in one of Dan’s books πŸ˜‰

    • Westport Convert

      If you were one of the property owners, you would feel differently.

      WC

      • Eric Buchroeder

        Water Closet (I like to refer to you as “Water Closet” it because it ties in with your courageous use of WC as your identifier and its also the source of most of your thoughts from what I’ve seen. I like double entendres).
        I’ve stayed off this blog for a couple of weeks to get some separation between us but it didn’t work. You just love to pick fights with me, don’t you.
        I honestly don’t know how I’d feel if I were a property owner so how can YOU say you’d know how I’d feel? I do think that the law of unintended consequences is going to rear its ugly head with all of this “I wanna pile big rocks in front of my yard so you’ll stay away from it” bullshit.
        The matter is probably going to be settled by whatever the applicable law is.
        The town and the state may yet have something to say about it.

        • Westport Convert

          I think it says much more about you that a rational disagreement or response, to your comment, is now considered picking fights. You must not get out a lot.

          My question is WHAT, exactly, do you have against personal rights and privacy. God forbid we possess rights for paying taxes. Sounds like you want everyone to live happily under one roof.

          How silly, unrealistic, and foolish.

          WC

          • Eric Buchroeder

            You may be right, I may have been too sensitive as I didn’t understand why you felt the need to put words in my mouth or to respond to what I said, as I wasn’t directing anything at you until you did so.. As I’ve said, I am somewhat on the fence with this issue. I normally believe in live and let live and that a man (or woman’s) house should be their castle but I can’t help thinking about the relative value/risk of having the rocks versus not having the rocks. I hope the law will settle it so we don’t have to argue about it any more.

            • Sorry but I so get a kick out of Eric and “Water Closet.” It gives me a belly laugh to read. Eric is always right on and Water Closet takes herself way too seriously however, I find myself a very few times agreeing with her. Love Eric. Just had to hop on to say you both brighten my week in the spirit of good will towards you both πŸ™‚

              • Westport Convert

                I’m still trying to figure out if I am supposed to be offended by the “Water Closet” nickname Eric has given me, anon2. I chuckle every time. It definitely has the opposite reaction he’s hoping for, I think!

                WC

                • Eric Buchroeder

                  I’m not a bad guy Closet. If you get my humor, there just may be hope for you.

              • Eric Buchroeder

                It won’t hurt you to agree with the Closet. it may hurt her, though. No where to go.

          • EB left town. He did get out.

  9. If you place the rocks at the correct angle, you can launch a car and make it flip.

  10. Eric Buchroeder

    The last time I remember a situation like this in Westport it was over whether or not Darren McGavin should be allowed to build the only three story house on Old Mill Beach. The ending was not pretty for anybody as I recall.

  11. I think it’s obvious the way people drive in this town. Doesn’t matter if they drive on your property or not. By the way, have you noticed that everything is overgrown in this town. I’ve lived here for 48 years and never seen it so bad. You can’t read half the signs because they are covered with vines, etc., and bushes stick out in the road making it almost impossible to see.Surprised there aren’t more accidents.

    • All roads in town are overgrown this year. Is this caused by budget cuts? Call the Road Dept.

  12. Keep off my lawn

    Our neighbor recently put rocks along the front of his property, but they actually went to the end of our driveway (on our property) and when my wife exited she ran one over and caused $2,300. of damage to her new car.

  13. A few years ago, the Town got some complaints about rocks on Turkey Hill South. They loaded up trucks with a bunch of strategically placed rocks in front of Martha Stewart’s house. She compelled the Town to dump the rocks back onto her property. I guess that those were special rocks!

  14. I hate it! Every time I see this it just seems so mean spirited. It also leaves nowhere to go in the event of an emergency without totally screwing up your car. The bigger question tho is why the town allows it – I think technically this is town land.

    • Whose land it is appears to be open to debate. The mean spirited are those who would destroy property that is not theirs.

    • Westport Convert

      You couldn’t be more wrong, Nancy. I have consulted with a friend at Town Hall and they (privately) confirmed that it is all legal and permitted. I doubt you’ll get one, public response/reaction from the top cronies on the matter though.

      “L from B” is correct. We pay the property taxes and it is our property. We have the right to protect, decorate, and landscape our property however we please. As long as it is not a danger to the public – and I argue that it is NOT – it is perfectly acceptable.

      This reminds me of that whole controversy over the ugly sculpture in Southport several years back? Or was it Westport? The neighbors complained about it being on the front lawn but it was private property. NOTHING THEY COULD DO.

      Deal with it, folks!

      • I agree with you WC! I’m going to put some IEDs on the edge of the road near my house. It’s my property! If someone’s car blows up because they are trying to let an ambulance pass that will teach them!

        • Westport Convert

          I think you forgot about the qualifer, “as long as it is not a danger to the public.” You’re taking one extreme example and trying to use it to justify the entire argument.

          Unless you’re moving the entire vehicle onto the side of the road for an emergency, there’s no reason you should be hitting rocks.

        • Arrant nonsense.

      • the ironic part is that the owners destroy patches of their own grass withthe boulders and they are as ugly as the ripped up marks from cars

  15. Eric Buchroeder

    Another long argument about whether or not people should be forced to get their rocks off. Sex should be private.

    • Westport Convert

      In your world… nothing is private. We all live on a compound, share everything (including spouses), and live happily ever after. Until the cops come busting through.

      Wait, this sounds familiar. Hmm.

      WC

      • Eric Buchroeder

        You really are something! You shoot your mouth off on a public blog (as is your right) and then when someone expresses an opinion that you disagree with, that was not directed at you specifically you come out with; “In your world, nothing is private.” What is with you? Would you prefer to be the only person allowed to express an opinion on this blog? Do you make a habit of talking to yourself?

  16. It would appear the town is pretty much saying let the property owners’ insurance companies deal with the unintended consequences – which sounds about right. There will be accidents, and there may be lawsuits – and people who place rocks on roadsides that did not previously have them may be liable. Everyone is right here – I just hope everyone is careful and considerate, too.

    • Eric Buchroeder

      I’m embarrassed that I didn’t reason the whole GD thing out the way you did. makes sense to me.

    • Westport Convert

      I would assume that everyone is both careful and considerate. We are all human beings. Some even decent ones, at that. Or at least pretend to be.

      The issue I have is people who argue that it’s not the property owner’s right to add rocks — especially related to protection and maintenance.

      If the property owner wants to assume the risk of putting rocks on THEIR private property, so be it. Yes, they will probably be held liable if there are any (unintended) consequences. But that’s all part of the decision.

      WC

      • Eric Buchroeder

        If I wanted to add rocks and someone told me I couldn’t I wouldn’t like it. I honestly don’t know what the right answer is. Everything has consequences can we agree on that?

        • Westport Convert

          I would agree that there is always the possibility of consequences. It doesn’t always materialize, though.

          • Eric Buchroeder

            If nothing happens afterwards is that a consequence? Think before answering. Also if material does not materialize, is it still material? Was it ever material? Should you put material next to your skin without underwear? Have YOU ever done that? If you had would you tell us about it or would you consider it an invasion of privacy? Does anyone really have privacy on a public forum? Is that a problem? If so who is it a problem for? Is it a problem for you?

    • If a person trespasses and suffers damage as a result of that tresspass, why should the property owner be liable? Was there enticement? Is sounds a bit like the guy who breaks into your house and falls down the stairs and then retains a trip and fall lawyer to recover damages. I would love to be on that jury.

  17. Private property or town right-of-way? Check your maps and then you’ll know.. While it is not and should not be a Town priority to remove these boulders, you take your chances if something unfortunate happens. Good luck.

  18. And, if a newly created hazardous condition is brought to the town’s attention and they choose do nothing about it and someone suffers a serious “unintended consequence”, the town may be liable and we may all have to pay.

    We do live in a village, and to certain extent we are all responsible for each other – even for sad, lonely fools who don’t believe it to be true.

    • …response to WC above

      • Westport Convert

        I would argue that with the way people are building and landscaping their properties in our town, there is no more “village.”

        I am no purist but I fully realize the change of philosophy and culture in Westport over the last two decades. It is much less about the village, and more so about the privacy.

        Why do you think most of the new residents are wealthy City folk? They’re looking for physical seclusion and privacy, all while benefitting from the “community” feel.

        I am not arguing either way at this point. I just think it is pointless to deny the fact that the town has changed and we have to figure out if we’re embracing that, fighting against it, or simply ignoring it. I’m getting the feeling that it’s the latter based on these comments.

        Not a question of right or wrong. Just a personal preference. We can agree to disagree on that, but it’s how I perceive the whole rock issue — and changing face of Westport, for that matter.

        WC

        • Bring back the village.

          • The “village” is a fiction.

          • Westport Convert

            I think there can be a healthy balance of community and privacy. The problem is that the purists take it too seriously for their own good, and the new residents in town take their privacy to the extreme.

            Believe it or not, you can find that balance. I might speak passionately about personal rights but I do agree that it takes the “village” mentality to ensure our democracy continues to thrive. The extreme ‘every man for himself’ concept smells of anarchy to me.

            Now, let’s leave the rocks alone. There are bigger issues to tackle in this town.

            WC

            • There is no village. For there to be a village requires shared values. In Westport, we no longer have shared values in any meaningful way.

    • Eric Buchroeder

      Seems to be a fact of life today….and I warn you if you state the irrefutable someone will try to contest it πŸ˜‰

  19. Old and Gray

    Only on this blog can rocks be turned into the Rocky Mountains

  20. Consider your reaction to a driver who leaves the roadway by driving over a curb or sidewalk? I don’t see people driving onto the sidewalk downtown to make way for emergency vehicles. Just because there is no impediment to leaving the roadway does not mean that drivers have permission to do so.

    Daily there are countless people stopping in front of my house to make calls, get directions, etc. If I didn’t have a tall curb in front of my property there would be 12′ of rutted dirt instead of landscaping. It would be an unmanageable ugly mess. People need clear directions about where they should go and where they should not. If I did not have a curb, I would put in the boulders. In the winter, I put up reflectors so everyone can stay on the road. The boulder owners should do the same. Thus ends the safety problem.

    • Is it your “property” or the Town’s right-of-way. If the latter, you are not paying taxes on it. Check your map.

      • The town chooses how much of the r-o-w is paved and the town chose to put in the curbs. I may not be paying taxes on the unpaved portion of the r-o-w in front of my home, but I am certainly paying to maintain it and keep it from being an eyesore. All property owners are doing this to some extent. I certainly would not want to create a situation that invites people to make the maintenance of this area onerous or overly expensive for the property owners. Maybe instead of boulders the homeowners should plant some big woody shrubs. Then drivers can run off the road and scratch their cars at the same time.

  21. Last year I was driving down Compo Road at dusk. A woman coming out of her sons driveway pushed one of these boulders into the middle of Compo Road. I couldn’t quite see what it was, and was unable to swerve out of the way. I hit the boulder, putting a hole in my oil pan and damaging the underside of my car. It cost $3,000 to repair the damage. It is a terrible and dangerous idea to place these boulders close to a major road!

    • Eric Buchroeder

      I agree with you but it may not be possible to stop it. What happened to the woman that placed the rock in the middle of Compo Rd. that you hit.? Sounds like a job for Water Closet!!!! In the “World of The Closet” everybody gets to do whatever they want with their rocks including eating them. If you run into one and wreck your car you’re just being selfish.

  22. The town-right-of-way varies in Westport from none to ten feet or more. If you are going to build a fence be sure to get a survey as the Town has the right to ask you to remove the fence if it is built on town property. Since most fences are built on the property line it is a fair assumption to believe that all property in front of the fence is town property.

    • Fences ate a different story. As I said in my posting, you may not construct anything on the berm however it is a legal right to protect your property with rocks. My neighbor on my road is the reason I put the rocks along the edge, after her husband’s car repeatedly ignored the curb I had installed for the same reason . Like some of you on here, she took issue and called the town. The town came out to review the situation. Guess who they sided with? Right. Why? Because the arguement of “falling on them” is nullified by the fact that they are trespassing on my property. It is all legal. Check your facts. I in fact DO pay taxes on the first 10 feet of my property.

      • One can easily check the maps online with the town’s GIS tool: http://www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=48
        It is very easy to see where one’s parcel ends, the right of way begins, and where the pavement is in relation to those boundaries.
        I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about.
        I agree with your rocks and your right to place them.
        I think people should take responsibility for their own actions. There are all sorts of potential risks to one’s car and person if one chooses to leave the paved roadway. In my neighborhood, you may dent your car when you run over the children’s lemonade stands. Fortunately, children are softer than boulders so there may not be much damage to the car.

  23. I wish they would put in sidewalks instead. I must admit that my dog thinks they are perfect for peeing on.

  24. WESTPORT resident

    Probably illegal parking. However this is not a new trend and I have observed this activity over 25 years. The placing of these large rocks and boulders can create a hazard for autos and bicyclists who may have to stop for an emergency.Our highway shoulders are kept cleared by highway departments for a clear and unobstructed emergency stop.

  25. Icky new Westport

    Boulders outside your property? Not much you can do about it. New westporters have changed aned ruined the town. That’s how the world works. When you find a new town without the pretense move there and don’t tell anyone about it cause they’ll follow and ruin it too.