WHITEFIELD — Big, old trees on Hollywood Boulevard in Whitefield are at the center of a discussion between those who live on the road and town officials.

Some of the trees have been marked for removal because of the hazard they present to plow trucks, firetrucks and a school bus, which have trouble navigating parts of the narrow road.

The town will meet Tuesday night to try to decide what makes sense as neighbors try to protect their privacy and preserve their trees.

“The road commissioner, selectman and road committee have spent hours listening to our concerns and are looking for a balance between road safety and maintaining the rural character of the town,” said homeowner Chris Hamilton during a walking tour of the area Monday morning. “I’m confident that working together we will come to a reasonable solution.”

Road Commissioner David Boynton said the town is happy to work together with residents along Hollywood Boulevard, a tree-lined rural stretch of Whitefield off Route 194. The unpaved part of the road in question begins at the Sheepscot Valley Brewing Company and continues for nearly 1.5 miles.

Selectman began to seriously consider improving the road after learning about the complaint filed at Regional School Unit 12 that a school bus wouldn’t come down the road during the winter because problems with snow removal and lines of sight that created a safety hazard for the driver.

“Now the bus will stop on the corner where the brewery is, so we’re trying to make it more accessible,” Boynton said. At its narrowest point, the road is only 17-feet wide, and the town standard is 20 feet for all roads. Boynton said the road can be widened using gravel in some spots and clearing some brush.

“You can’t see well around the corner and it gets narrow, so a combination of building it out with gravel and cutting some trees and brush will make it work,” he said.

Town officials originally marked more than 30 trees for removal, but after further discussions with licensed foresters and residents, there are less than 10 trees on the chopping block.

One of the bigger trees marked for removal is right in front of Brian O’Mahoney’s house. Boynton and Select Board Chairman Tony Marple said the tree is close enough to the road that removing it will create additional room for larger vehicles. O’Mahoney doesn’t want to see that tree removed, in part because of the privacy it helps provide.

“Obviously, there’s a degree of that, but I love this road, and more broadly, it amazes me that the first response was to widen the road,” he said. “It’s a safe road, but I’m not driving a school bus.”

Selectman Frank Ober said town officials set goals for the road that include making it wide enough for two vehicles to pass, making it easier for plow trucks to get snow off the road in the winter, helping the road displace water in the spring and summer and improving line of sight for RSU 12’s bus driver.

“You need it wide enough for any truck to pass safely, you need it wide enough for the water to run off and you need a place to put the snow,” he said. “(These improvements) are essentially for the whole world because it’s a public road.”

Boynton said he understands the concerns of residents who want to maintain their privacy and maintain the quiet, tree-lined character of the road, which ends at Head Tide Road in Alna.

“It’s a rural road and (the people) want to keep it a rural road,” the road commissioner said. “And we understand that.”

He said it’s important people understand that as the owner of the road, the town has the right to “come in and do whatever” they want and “cut the whole thing right out.” But town officials want to work with residents for a solution that is amenable to everyone.

“These are standard things that every road should have, and this is not unique to just Whitefield,” Ober said.

If the project moves forward, the town will have to put out a bid or request proposals for the tree work. There is already a contract to cut bush on Hollywood Boulevard, and Boynton will handle the gravel and ditch work. Ober, Marple and Boynton said the goal is to complete the work before winter.

“This is something we wanted to do anyway,” Boynton said. “It’s in line with our regular maintenance plan.”

Marple said he hopes the Department of Transportation will review the speed limit for the road, which, under state law for an unposted road, is 45 mph. Residents said there are plenty of instances where vehicles travel down Hollywood Boulevard at greater speeds.

“The idea is to have standards for all our roads, gravel or otherwise,” Marple said.

The select board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Whitefield Fire Station. The agenda posted on the town’s website said Hollywood Boulevard will be discussed between 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., but officials expect a longer discussion.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

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Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ