Bob Warrington speaks Monday night to the Paris Board of Selectmen. Jon Bolduc/Sun Journal

PARIS — The meeting Monday night of the Paris Board of Selectmen began with outrage over an uprooted periwinkle patch and ended with a compromise between a group of residents and selectmen.

Resident Bob Warrington said a patch of periwinkle in front of his house on Christian Ridge Road was ripped up last Thursday as the town’s Highway Department was digging a drainage ditch. Warrington said he has cared for the periwinkle for 30 years.

“The problem is that it was necessary to take off this 6-foot, 7-foot area about 50 feet long to improve drainage when it really didn’t accomplish anything,” he said. “They just scraped it off and there’s still a slope. Now it’s just exposed soil, which is going to run (off).”

Warrington said the town has “ditched” Christian Ridge Road several times, but never the section of the road in front of his house.

Warrington said he asked James “Jamie” Hutchinson, the town’s highway director, to offer some solutions. Warrington said the conversation did not go well, and he thought Hutchinson was implying he would make the ditch bigger because Warrington spoke out.

“Jamie kept throwing out these little snide remarks like, ‘If there’s no ditch there, we can make a ditch,’ implying he could ‘fix my wagon’ for complaining about trying to get things restored back to some sort of normalcy so we could get some green growing back there,” Warrington said.

Town Manager Dawn Waisanen said the town crew is not finished with the ditch, and will come back to plant grass. She said Hutchinson was suggesting legitimate alternatives.

“I felt that he came across as giving you a different solution to the problem,” Waisanen said. “I thought he handled it quite coolly…he was trying to get you to understand that we did as little as possible to get it done.”

Janet Brogan, a Paris Hill resident, said the conflict stems from a perception the town chooses road projects arbitrarily.

“It goes back to fundamental question that we’ve had in these seats before,” Brogan said. “There is no long-term road plan that we have access to that we can say, ‘I understand you screwed up my property royally, but we’re going to get paved next year.'”

Kathy Richardson, also of Paris Hill, said the issues with Paris’ roads, which have simmered over the past few months, have stemmed from “misunderstanding upon misunderstanding.” She also cited the need for a long-term road plan.

“It’s gotten so far that now we have people misunderstanding people,” Richardson said. “I know that Jamie works hard, and I’ve known him for a long time. I think he’s been put in an impossible place. I think the citizens are in an impossible place. This whole thing just seems random. It seems out of the loop, and suddenly no one trusts anybody. I think that’s a very poor place for the town to be. What we need is a long-term plan.”

The board voted to contact Rob Prue, president of Pine Tree Engineering, to inspect Christian Ridge Road and the drainage ditch. The 10 or so Paris Hill residents who attended the meeting agreed to attend an upcoming Paris Utility District.

Brogan said she was pleased the residents and the board found common ground.

“The compromise is the solution,” Brogan said.

 

 


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