By Jonathan Phelps
---- — IPSWICH — The town will no longer pick up trash or recycling on Little Neck, a move that has taken some unhappy residents by surprise.
Selectmen decided to end the service effective Jan. 1 after voting unanimously last week following a public hearing to adopt a new residential and commercial solid waste and recycling policy.
Little Neck, a 35-acre peninsula at the end of Little Neck Road, is considered private property, run by a condominium association, and is not open to the public.
At the entrance to the peninsula there is a sign that reads: “Private Property. Little Neck residents only.” The signs went up over the summer.
The town does not plow or maintain the streets on Little Neck, according to Town Manager Robin Crosbie.
“Right now we are picking up rubbish on roads where the public can’t travel,” Crosbie said.
But Mark DiSalvo, a member of the Little Neck trustees who said he was unaware of last week’s decision, said Little Neck is “grandfathered” for trash and recycling services. He said agreements with the town date back to the 1980s.
“I am wholly unaware of this misjudgment by the Board of Selectmen and the town,” DiSalvo said. “Little Neck qualifies under existing regulations and bylaws.”
DiSalvo said he spoke with Crosbie and Public Works Director Rick Clarke over the summer, and they indicated the trash and recycling services would continue. There was no notice or indication the services would be ending, he said.
“It is our belief and expectation that curbside trash and recycling is continued to be grandfathered in,” he said.
No one representing Little Neck attended the public hearing.
Clarke could not be reached for comment, but Crosbie said the town has been talking with the Little Neck trustees about the changes since last spring.
“They have been aware that this has been a topic of conversation,” she said at last week’s public hearing. She also said town counsel agrees with the decision to end trash services for Little Neck condominiums as long as similar properties in town are treated the same in the policy.
Crosbie said the town does not pick up trash at Ipswich Country Club or Turner Hill, which are also private communities.
“A lot of this came about because we have different ways of treating essentially the same kind of developments,” she said.
Until last year, Little Neck was owned by a land trust, the oldest in the country, that was created in 1660 to generate money for the Ipswich schools. Tenants owned their cottages, but paid rent for the land the houses sit on.
Following years of controversy, the former trustees, known as the Feoffees, sold the land to Little Neck residents for $31.4 million in August 2012. Little Neck is now considered a condominium development.
Under the new trash policy, the town will pick up on streets that have been continuously open to public use or travel for six or more years.
Crosbie said the town will still pick up on private ways where public travel is allowed.
“For all the little private ways in town where anyone can drive we will continue (pickup), as long as it is on the route,” Crosbie said. “We feel like there needs to be equity in how we deliver services.”
Other changes were made to make the policy more clear, she said.
“It is a difficult issue,” said Charles Surpitski, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “But the decision was to put Little Neck in line with other similar properties in town.”
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.