EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 2, 2014

Addressing change delayed in Atkinson

Town counsel advises against it

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — ATKINSON — A proposal to change addresses in town has hit a snag.

Town attorney Sumner Kalman advised selectmen against a portion of the plan.

Selectmen proposed changing more than 20 addresses on Coventry and Washington Roads to assure quicker emergency response. Part of the proposal includes changing a private driveway off Washington Road into a new road. But it is unclear if the town has the ability to do that.

“The road is private right now,” Selectman Fred Thompson said. “The question is if the town has the right to rename it and would it become a town road if we did.”

Kalman would not comment on the issue.

Selectmen have been trying to renumber houses after an incident at Peter Gulezian’s home at 2 Washington Road seven years ago. Gulezian’s wife’s blood sugar was low and he called for an ambulance. The ambulance was delayed because it went to the wrong house.

Gulezian lives at 2 Washington Road, but shares a driveway with homes at 2A and 2B Washington Road. Under the proposal, those neighbors’ homes would become part of a new street, Martha’s Way.

Selectmen had hoped to approve the renumbering by the end of the year, but the plan is in limbo for now.

“At this point, we have not made any decisions or scheduled any action,” Selectmen’s Chairman WIlliam Friel said. “We have consulted town counsel for advice and are currently waiting for their response.”

Thompson said he hopes to get the issue settled as soon as possible.

“We have an ordinance that’s been voted on and has been on the books since 2010,” he said. “We’ve had several votes, both up and down, to get this done. We’ve had several public hearings. From a safety standpoint and for the folks who have had emergencies, it’s important to take care of this in a logical fashion.”

According to the town’s ordinance, adopted in 2010, there cannot be alphanumeric numbers in an all-numeric string.