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Montville - Tears, hugs and applause filled the Town Council chambers during a town meeting Tuesday when the registrars of voters announced that by a vote of 36 to 3, Montville residents had decided to correct a situation that has left a small neighborhood in Oakdale without access to town services such as snow plowing and road maintenance.
Council Chairman Joseph Jaskiewicz explained to the audience that Maynard Road had never technically ceased to be a town road and that Tuesday's vote would allow the town to correct the situation by clarifying that it was only discontinuing use of the roughly 240 feet at the road's southernmost end. That portion is entirely overgrown as it is, according to neighbors.
In 1995, the council voted to abandon the entirety of Maynard Road after the owners of a small shopping center at Routes 163 and 82 asked the town to abandon "a small portion" of the road abutting the shopping center.
"I think it's pretty self-explanatory: I'm ecstatic," said Maynard Road resident Lynda J. Jean, who has fought to bring her and her neighbors' concerns to the town's attention for the past 18 years.
"This is what happens when you get your town councilors to listen to you - they work for you," she said.
Jean said during the public comment period of the meeting that lack of town services had seriously impacted her and the eight families that live on the road. She talked about residents who had waited longer than normal to receive emergency medical care because the ambulance or firetruck couldn't find their home, and she said neighbors had to pay out of pocket for their own sand and salt to melt snow on the roads.
She said such town resources "might seem not important to some, but they're important to the eight of us."
Town Water Pollution Control Authority member Tony Siragusa said at the meeting that he disapproved of granting town services to the stretch of road. He said he perceived the vote as creating a new road to benefit only a small group of people who live in mobile homes on land owned by Jeanne Provost.
"This really is basically a road - a driveway - for one owner and his tenants," he said.
Maynard Road resident Ken Evans, who once toppled over a cliff and landed under his tractor while trying to plow snow, approached the microphone after Siragusa. He said emphatically, "It's a road."
Evans said he had to wait in the snow for hours 12 years ago when the incident occurred because emergency personnel struggled to find him.
Councilor Chuck Longton, who said he has been working with the neighbors for roughly a year to help them get town services, also spoke in support of abandoning only the unused tip of the road.
"Those eight families have been screwed over," he said, then quickly muttered an apology for his strong language.
The story isn't quite over for Maynard Road. Mayor Ronald McDaniel said last week that the town still had to determine how to bring the road up to standard and had to notify the state so that the town may receive state funding for the road.
Public Works Director Don Bourdeau previously estimated that bringing the road up to current standards would cost approximately $167,000.