PELHAM -- While "Big Truck Night" was on the Village Green outside, inside Town Hall, the selectmen's meeting Tuesday could have been titled "Street Night," or the "Big Roof Job."
Selectmen held a third public hearing on a recommendation from the town's Highway Safety Committee to change the names of 20 roads, streets or driveways in an effort to reduce the number of similar-sounding addresses as a safety measure.
The committee, which includes Fire Chief James Midgley, Police Chief Joe Roark and Planning Director Jeff Gowan, compiled the list of addresses that needed changing as the result of a 2012 incident in which an ambulance responding to an emergency call was sent to the west branch of West Shore Drive, instead of the east branch of West Shore Drive, according to Gowan.
"There was also another case where dispatch sent emergency responders to Old Lawrence Road instead of Lawrence Corner Road, which are on opposite ends of Pelham," Gowan said. "It's not safe."
With town officials having been previously notified by a resident about the danger caused by first responders getting confused by similar sounding addresses, Selectmen Chairman Ed Gleason said if someone were to get hurt as a result of such confusion, the town could be held liable.
"The drive of this whole effort is to minimize the incidents of apparatus being sent to the wrong address," Gleason said.
During a public hearing on the proposed street-name changes, 50-year resident James Carragher of 9 Westfall Drive North voiced the strongest objection to changing his address, claiming it would cost him at least $1,200.
"I've got five commercial vehicles registered in this town; I already pay a lot of money to this town, and this is going to cost me a fortune," said Carragher, who said the town changed his home address changed four times previously, from Susan Drive, to Monroe Road, to Westfall Road, to Westfall Road North. "I'm 50 years old. That means every 10 years you change the name of my road."
Gleason and Selectmen Bob Haverty and Hal Lynde all disputed Carragher's claim that it will cost him nearly $1,000 in administrative fees to make another address change.
"I have never heard anyone come in and tell us they have spent $1,000, and we have changed hundreds of addresses in this town," Lynde said.
The official renaming of affected streets won't take effect until after a third public hearing and final vote of selectmen, which will most likely happen in September, Gleason said.
Gowan cautioned that residents of streets recommended for name changes should not fill out any change-of-address forms until they are officially notified by the town in writing, Gowan said.
In other business, selectmen voted 3-0-1, with Lynde abstaining, to accept a bid of $80,360 from Rondeau Exterior Contracting to repair a major portion of the roof of the Town Hall offices that has sprung leaks in several spots, according to Selectman Bill McDevitt.
Rondeau was awarded the job despite another firm, Saco Roofing, having entered a lower bid of $77,000. Town Administrator Brian McCarthy recommended the board go with Rondeau, due to Saco Roofing's requirement of being paid 25 percent up front before starting any work; and also because of Rondeau's familiarity with the Town Hall roof, and the contractor's proven quality work record, McCarthy said.
Lynde said he wanted to see more information on the scope of the roofing job Rondeau is proposing to do for the quoted price.
Though McDevitt told board members he's no roofing expert, he urged selectmen to take action Tuesday. "We've been working on this for months. The roof leaks, guys," McDevitt said.
The type of roofing work being done on Town Hall is not expected to interfere with any office work going on below, selectmen said.
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Streets that the Pelham Highway Safety Committee have recommended for renaming for safety purposes include: Spring Street Extension; Spring Street Driveway; the northern branch of Berthel Street; the left (eastern) branch of West Shore Drive; Westfall Road South; Westfall Road North; a section (but not all) of Misty Lane; Wynridge Circle; Greenmeadow Drive; Garland Lane; Webster Drive Extension; Old Lawrence Road; Brookview Drive Extension; Arlene Drive Extension; and Atwood Road Extension.
Planning Director Jeff Gowan informed selectmen that new street names recommended by the Pelham Highway Safety Committee to replace the above-mentioned roadways include: Honor Roll Road, Cedar Lane PVT, Turtle Crossing Road, Hidden Hollow Drive PVT, Pasture Lane, Azalea Lane PVT, Briarwood Street, Seavy Road, Whitetail Lane PVT, Tower Hill Road PVT, Buckeye Drive, and Peaceful Drive.
A memorandum on the recommended street name changes may be obtained at the Town Planning Department.