Opposing Street Change, Haverhill Woman Learns She Can Fight City Hall…and Win

City Engineer John H. Pettis III, left, looks on as resident Antoinette Metheny beats back a plan to change the name of her street. (WHAV News photograph.)

Despite the popular saying to the contrary, you can fight city hall and win.

Antoinette Metheny, a 15-year Bellevue Avenue resident, discovered that last night when stood alone against a city plan to change the name of the portion of the street where she lives.

City Engineer John H. Pettis III was before the City Council saying a part of the street with three houses would better align with adjacent Hillside Street. Metheny, of 21 Bellevue Ave., wouldn’t have it. She complained changing her address is no small task in this day and age. She explains.

“I don’t feel it is necessary to incur the economic expense that it would take to change everything in my life in reference to changing the street address. My Social Security down to medical records and everything else. I really can’t see any reason for it. It exists, and has existed, and the postman can get the tax bill, the sewer bill and the water bill to me. What else matters?”

Pettis argued only three houses would be affected and, more importantly, it would help make sense of a confusing on-street parking problem.

“Bellevue Avenue at its southern end meets High Street. A little more than a hundred feet up from High Street, there is an existing concrete retaining wall that kind of goes up in the middle of the roadway. You have the feeling when you’re on the east side of the roadway that you’re already on Hillside Street. In actuality, you’re (on) part of the Bellevue Ave. right away or layout, so this would correct that,” he argued.

In fact, the longtime city engineer said, the issue came up while trying to come up with a legal description of the wall area where parking was to be banned.

Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan, a real estate attorney, advised Metheny the only legal address that matters is on her property deed. He said she isn’t obligated to notify anyone.

Nevertheless, Metheny convinced two-thirds of the Council to see it her way. Voting to kill the street name change were Sullivan, President John A. Michitson and Councilors Colin F. LePage, Timothy J. Jordan, William J. Macek and Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien.

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