New Hadley streetlight staying up despite resident’s objection

Staff Writer
Saturday, January 11, 2020

HADLEY — A streetlight installed over the summer on Route 47 in North Hadley to improve safety on a stretch of the road north of the intersection with Comins Road will remain in place.

The Select Board voted unanimously Wednesday to keep the LED streetlight, approved by the board in March 2019, even though it has been a point of concern for resident Susan Delmolino, who lives on River Drive near the new light.

Following an October site visit in which Delmolino raised concerns about lack of notification about the streetlight installation, the board aimed to address the topic at its Dec. 4 meeting, when Police Chief Michael Mason was invited to describe the purpose of the light and whether it could be removed.

But Delmolino was not present that evening, and later in December drafted a complaint about Open Meeting Law violations, which was not filed with the state attorney general. She noted the posted agenda had the incorrect address for the light, a matter that was compounded by describing it as one that she had asked for.

“I did not request this light — there’s just no two ways about it,” Delmolino.

But according to the online agenda for that meeting, “the Select Board will discuss a request to remove a new streetlight at 300 River Drive. The streetlight was installed at the request of a resident. ”

This posting meant Delmolino was not alerted to be present and was thus unable to be part of the process.

“My premise is the light should have never gone up to begin with,” Delmolino said.

Board member Joyce Chunglo said the light needs to stay out of concern that its removal could lead to a crash.

Town Administrator David Nixon said Hadley could face liability if it is taken down.

“We’ll leave it there and see how it works,” said board member John Waskiewicz.

At the December meeting, Mason acknowledged that there was some disagreement as to how the light was installed and whose request it was, but that there was no doubt the light was improving visibility on the road.

There have been eight crashes in that area of Route 47 since 2006, according to police records.

Since the light was installed, efforts have been made by Eversource technicians to shield it from nearby properties by lowering its height and angling the light to shine on the road.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.