OLD TOWN, Maine — Patience is key to making a 4-way stop sign work at an intersection.
But about 10 residents who patiently waited for the city council to clear up other issues before councilors discussed stop signs at two intersections in their neighborhood left Tuesday’s council meeting disappointed.
The council voted 4-3 to have the 4-way signs removed from the intersections of Veazie Street and Davis Street, and Fourth Street and Davis Street.
Councilors Jamie Dufour, Linda McLeod, Carol May and Bill Lovejoy voted to have the signs removed while David Mahan, Alan Stormann and Charles Pinkham wanted the signs kept in place.
The reasoning for removal of the signs was that more data was needed to find out the rate of incidents at the intersections, and the city needed to establish criteria for placement of stop signs.
Public safety director Don O’Halloran said the city has no criteria for determining the necessity of stop signs at given locations. He recommended the council keep the signs in place while the city decided on criteria.
Seven residents spoke, including five in favor of keeping the signs. Those who liked the signs said they’ve been effective in slowing down traffic on Veazie and Fourth streets, which connect the busy byways Gilman Falls Avenue and Stillwater Avenue.
“The 4-way stop signs have definitely helped slow the traffic pattern down,” said Jim Tibbetts of 179 Fourth St.
City residents opposing the signs said some are difficult to see because of greenery in the way of the signs, and that people often park vehicles in front of the signs, which makes for narrow and dangerous inter-sections.
The prosign group left the meeting with a collective grumble immediately after the vote.
Another issue kept the council busy.
The council spent a large chunk of the meeting determining whether a trailer at 802 Stillwater Ave. should be deemed a dangerous building. The trailer was eventually condemned by a unanimous council vote and the owner, listed as Evelyn Luce, was told to remove the trailer from the lot by Oct. 6, which is the council’s next meeting, or the city would remove it and charge Luce for its removal.
Luce’s husband, David Luce, was the owner of the former Crestwood Trailer Park in Hampden, which closed in November 2006 and was foreclosed upon, according to a July 21, 2007 Bangor Daily News story. After the trailer park closed, the Town of Hampden issued David Luce a notice of violation of law because under state law the site qualified as a junkyard, according to the 2007 story.
Old Town code enforcement officer Charles Heinonen said the trailer has not had power since last fall and a recent inspection found the plumbing had been destroyed, the property had trash and junk vehicles on it and there was animal feces inside.
“I just think it’s gone on too long,” Stormann said. “[The trailer] has been unattended too long.”
Neighbor Jacob Hatch of 806 Stillwater Ave. confirmed problems at Luce’s trailer.
David Luce, who spoke for Evelyn Luce, argued he had spent the last few days removing trash and straightening up the area and felt there was “no reason” for the trailer to be torn down.