A full gallery of Farrwood Drive residents turned out for Tuesday’s Haverhill City Council meeting, expressing frustration over the condition of their road—a situation Mayor James J. Fiorentini called “a disgrace.”
Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan explained problems with the roadway have been going on for years because the street was never accepted as a public way.
“So, because it was never accepted as a public way, it was never brought to standards of a public way, with patchwork and potholes repaired for years and years and years. It’s a private road and that’s what plagues these roads,” he said.
Complicating the issue is there are several homeowner associations in the area, confusing who is responsible for what. Katie Pikus is a member of one of those associations. She said the street is so bad, if the residents have to pay to fix it, it will cost about $5,000 per family.
“So, Farrwood residents pay about $1.7 million in taxes every year. We’re not getting any of the services that go along with those. The roads are deplorable. It’s 37 years of not being taken care of,” she said.
Another resident, Michael Clark, presented the Council with a photograph taken in 2008 of himself and his young nephew standing beside a crater in the road, a crater he said is still there.
“The child in the photo was accepted to Syracuse this year. I’ve literally grown old waiting for this to be fixed,” he said.
Fiorentini told residents he is sympathetic to their situation and promised the city would intercede one way or another to resolve the situation.
“I’ve directed our Inspectional Services Department, our legal department and our Public Works Department to come up with some sort of solution, whether it be to enact an ordinance, to fine the owners, or going to court or whether we can do the road ourselves,” he said.
Pledging that help is forthcoming, Sullivan said, there will be a meeting scheduled with the mayor and developers King Weinstein and Stephen Stapinski, along with the heads of each of the associations.
Residents also asked about installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Farrwood Drive and Route 125. Because the roadway curves just before that point, they said it is very difficult to see oncoming traffic.
Sullivan said because the state takes responsibility over all traffic lights, the city has no jurisdiction. He noted the state took a look at the intersection some time ago and decided there isn’t a high enough traffic count to warrant a light. He did tell the group, however, the spot is dangerous and he would continue to press state representatives to take another look.