EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 15, 2013

Neighborhood feud over snow simmers

By Bruce Amaro

---- — HAVERHILL — An old-fashioned neighborhood feud over the Blizzard of 2013 was brewing, but has been averted.

In the neighborhood along Woodman Avenue, neighbors help neighbors. Every winter for the seven years that he has lived on the street, Bill Bibeau has cleaned the snow from the front and around a mailbox kiosk where the neighbors get their mail.

The mailboxes for all residents of the small neighborhood are grouped in a kiosk along one section of narrow property at the end of their street. One side of the kiosk faces their street, and the other side faces a large used car lot.

“Bill goes out there with his snow blower to clean the snow from the mailboxes when he can, and one of us on the street do it if he can’t,” said Bibeau’s neighbor Corey Martell.

Martel and Bibeau complained to police that when workers from the used car lot plow snow in the area after storms, they cause the mailboxes to be blocked. It was especially bad after the blizzard, the neighbors said.

“It’s been a problem,” Martell said.

But the problem has been solved. Robert Kalil, the owner of the car lot — 495 Auto and Truck Sales,1175 Main St. — has agreed not to plow the area near the mailboxes. When the car dealer had pushed snow from his used car lot up to that area where the car lot meets the front of the mailbox kiosk, the Woodman Avenue residents said that blocked access to the mailboxes.

Kalil, while agreeing not to plow there anymore, told a different version of the story.

“I didn’t plow it up against the mailboxes,” he said.

Kalil said he plows snow in an area near the mailboxes to allow elderly residents access to the area. He said he plows it voluntarily, then the neighbors clean up the rest after he finishes.

“I don’t go in too close to the mailboxes,’’ he said. “I don’t want to hit them with the top edge of the plow and break them off. I’m doing this as a courtesy. I do this voluntarily.’’

Martell disagreed.

“He plows it (the snow) in front of the mailboxes, and we have to clean it away or we can’t get our mail,” Martel said.

The afternoon after the weekend storm, Martell said he saw snow piled up in front of the mailboxes again. He said he asked the car lot owner to remove the pile and was assured it would be cleared away.

“By late Sunday, he hadn’t cleared the snow,” Martell said. Martel said he then called the police.

After they viewed the area, police told neighbors they would talk to the car lot’s owner, said Deputy Chief Donald Thompson.

Police met with Kalil and told him to leave the area alone if the neighbors complain, Kalil said.

“We try to encourage people to work out these situations amongst themselves so that everyone is satisfied,” Thompson said.