The second meeting held at Mashpee Town Hall since early March to discuss potential roadway name changes was much calmer and even-keeled than the first.
In contrast to the angry tenor of East Way residents at a recent Mashpee Planning Board meeting, Tuesday’s “listening session” between the town’s address working group and residents of the Beechwood Point Condominium complex was much less contentious, although many issues and concerns were raised by the more than 20 residents in attendance.
The Mashpee Address Working Group was formed in 2011 to identify addressing conflicts that could result in confusion or delays in public safety response. The policies and recommendations of the group were approved by the Mashpee Board of Selectmen last December. Representing the group on Tuesday were town manager Joyce M. Mason, Police Chief Rodney C. Collins, Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo, town clerk Deborah F. Dami, director of assessing Jason R. Streebel, and E911/GIS coordinator Clayson L. Nicholson.
In a letter sent to residents of the 52-unit condominium complex last month, Mr. Nicholson advised residents that there was a potential conflict between the road that the complex is on—Beechwood Point Drive—and Beechwood Drive, located on the other side of Santuit Pond. A recommendation was made to change the street name to Colonial Drive, although all residences in the complex currently have an address of 35 Santuit Pond Road followed by a unit number. Mr. Nicholson did note, however, that the town would be open to other street name suggestions from residents.
“Additionally, the address of 35 Santuit Pond Road has been identified as an additional hazard because some buildings within the complex are up to a quarter mile away from Santuit Pond Road,” Mr. Nicholson wrote.
Late last month, the Beechwood Point Condominium Trust conducted a survey and an alternative street name, Santuit Pond Way, was proposed in order for the community to retain its identity to the waterway on which it is located.
During the hour-long meeting several residents spoke, raising concerns about the potential address change, ranging from the inconvenience of changing addresses on bills and driver’s licenses to the confusion it would cause to the elderly homeowners in the complex. Mashpee Fire Captain Kevin Long, a resident of Beechwood Point, went as far as to say, with his boss, Chief Rullo, on the dias, that he did not view the current addressing system as a safety hazard.
Ingrid Jaeger, secretary of the board of trustees for Beechwood Point Condominiums, said that the address change would cost residents approximately $8,000 in signage changes, an expense that it can ill afford at this time.
“For us it is very costly. We have been mismanaged for years and we are trying to turn things around. An $8,000 expense that we had not budgeted or planned for would be horrible. I’m hoping they heard us,” she said.
Ms. Jaeger did say that she did feel encouraged after the meeting because she felt that the working group had listened to the concerns of the residents.
“When I walked into the meeting I already thought they had their minds made up,” Ms. Jaeger said.
Ms. Mason said on Wednesday that she heard the residents’ concerns “loud and clear” and that the group will discuss the issue and decide how it will move forward, with as little impact on residents as possible. The next step could be a hearing in front of the Mashpee Planning Board, which has jurisdiction over private road name changes.
Ms. Mason, however, stressed that the addressing change process has been in the works for years, and that it is intended to make any adjustments that, while highly unlikely, could cause a potential delay in emergency service response.
“It is important to point out to the community that we respond to all emergencies in a safe and timely manner,” she said.