Residents of Farrwood Drive in Haverhill are about to get some relief from, what has long been described as, the deplorable and dangerous conditions of their roadway.
As reported by WHAV in April of last year and earlier, the problem is the roadway has never been accepted as a public way. As a result, the city has done no work on the private road and, city officials and neighbors say, the property owner allowed it to become a patchwork of potholes.
Addressing the Haverhill City Council on Tuesday, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said while he is averse to providing city money for work on private property, the situation has become a danger to people living in the area.
“I don’t like spending public money on private roads. It sets a terrible example, but something has to be done. It’s gotten to the point now where it’s a public safety hazard, where some of the school buses will no longer go down the road,” he said.
A number of weeks ago, the City Council allowed the city to step in to make emergency repairs and to place a lien against the road’s owner in an effort to recover the expense. Calling patching a temporary fix, the mayor explained what would have to happen to do the job properly.
“This will allow us to make temporary repairs, get us through the winter and then it’s up to the owners to follow the ordinance (and) get 75% of the owners to agree to pay for the road. We’ll advance the money if we need to and put a lien against their homes,” he said.
According to city records, the street in question is owned by Farrwood Drive Inc., whose president, treasurer, secretary and director are developer King H. Weinstein.
Public Works Director Robert E. Ward told councilors work will must begin quickly due to weather concerns. He said the project involves the three worst areas of the road and will cost about $90,000.
Councilor Melinda E. Barrett agreed with the assessment of the road’s condition, citing one particular incident last year. “Last year there was a bureau in one of these potholes and you couldn’t see the bottom drawer,” she said.
She said snowplow drivers have even refused to plow the road during the winter for fear of damaging their equipment.
Fiorentini told the Council he will contact the property owner one final time to give him a chance to take care of the problem before moving ahead with the temporary fix plan.