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Pelham residents, town settle lawsuit on road plan

PELHAM — The town has settled a lawsuit with a Surrey Lane couple who filed an injunction in Hillsborough County Superior Court seeking to stop a Surrey Lane Extension project.

As part of the settlement, the town held a public hearing on the road project and allowed Kathy Corey Fox and Warren Fox of 28 Surrey Lane to voice their concerns about the project. The Board of Selectmen is under no obligation to address or respond to any of the issues raised by the Foxes.

However, Selectman William McDevitt said the town’s engineering consultant will take a look at and respond to some of the environmental concerns that were raised by the Foxes.

“I think the board is not going to engage in a back and forth discussing everything, because we would be at several disadvantages,” said McDevitt. But, he said, the town’s consulting engineer has looked at a number of issues that were raised, many involving drainage into a nearby pond and the environmental impact of the project.

Robert Best, the attorney for the Foxes, said the main goal of the litigation against the town was to give his clients and others an opportunity for public input on the road extension.

“We appreciate the opportunity for public input on the project,” said Best. “That is what we have sought all along.”

Although selectmen were under no obligation to address the matter further, Best said he hoped that by raising some of the drainage and environmental issues, the board might pause and give more consideration to some parts of the project.

“I’m glad we were able to reach an amicable solution to this,” said Best.

The Surrey Lane extension has been under consideration by the town for more than two decades as a way to improve emergency access to Surrey Lane and St. Margaret’s Drive.

“The town has talked about the extension as an emergency way so we would have a second avenue should Route 38 be blocked,” said Town Administrator Tom Gaydos. “We’ve had a couple of situations where cars have hit that major telephone pole that seems to have most of the free world connected to it. What essentially happens is that that entire end of town gets shut off from Pelham emergency vehicles and they have to get service from Salem.”

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