HARPSWELL — The Board of Selectmen voted to remove five streetlights and heard public comment on the legal status of Lower Road at their August 9 meeting.
Last fall, the Board voted to remove several unnecessary streetlights around town, even after residents complained that their removal could make roads unsafe.
Residents were allowed to appeal the removal of the lights and on July 26, the Board visited several of the lights to decide their fate.
“Some lights have been removed because after the town meeting, the town informed Central Maine Power that they could be removed until the Board decided to halt and take more time to reconsider,” said Town Administrator Kristi Eiane.
On Aug. 9, the Board discussed the removal and heard concern from residents over the fate of several lights. The Board discussed moving pole 67.1, located on Hurricane Ridge Road, closer to the intersection with Route 123.
Resident Linda Hall said that instead of moving the light to the intersection, it should be moved to a blind corner on the road.
“When you did your drive-by, you could see there is a corner near (the light) that’s a sharp 90 degree turn that is completely blind even in the daytime,” Hall said. “The light is not (currently) at the corner and to be most compliant (with town policy), the light should be at the corner. If it’s a toss up, why don’t we leave it where it is, but ideally it should be at the corner because there is no pole there.”
The Board voted to remove four other poles in addition to the pole on Hurricane Ridge Road, but voted to keep two others — one on Harpswell Neck Road and the other on Merriconeag Lane.
Several residents also turned out to help determine whether or not Lower Road is, in fact, a town maintained road.
“It seems that all the research I’ve done, there is a lot of proof it’s a town road,” said Road Commissioner Ron Ponziani. “It’s been maintained for many years.”
Ed and David Johnson spoke about the many years the town has maintained the road, saying that ever since both of them can remember the town has maintained the road.
After much debate, the Board referred the legal status to town attorneys.
“We’re all basically agreed that we want to go on doing what we’ve been doing, maintaining the road,” said Board Chair Ellie Multer. “We just have to tie up the strings to do it.”