The town of Milton will offer assistance to Cannery Village residents to the tune of more than $10,000 for better signage.
The signage problem in the community has been debated for more than a year, as many residents have urged town council to aid them in resolving what they consider a public safety issue. Residents say emergency personnel and deliverymen have difficulty navigating the community because its unusual configuration has some homes addressed to the back.
“Sooner or later those streets are going to get paved. When those streets get paved, the town is going to be totally liable for those signs not being there,” said resident Bob Weston, a member of the Cannery Village Ad-Hoc Committee. “It seems to me that this is a no-brainer.”
The town has agreed to pay for 41 percent of the cost of new signs but no more than $10,281 – the estimate provided by a local sign company. Included in the town's portion are hotel-style signs that will identify homes that front to a park area and have access via an alley behind the home. The town will also cover new aluminum street signs and moving of speed limit signs. Cannery Village Homeowners Association will pick up the rest of the tab, nearly $15,000, for 154 address signs for residents' garages.
Prior to taking a vote, council debated where the responsibility for the problem should fall. Councilman Emory West said when the project was proposed more than a decade ago, he told the developer and town council that the street configuration would cause confusion.
“I told them you're not going to get the firetrucks in there, but they wouldn't listen,” he said. “I sympathize with [the residents], but the town should not have to pay for the developer's mistakes. If they would've nipped it in the bud when I brought it to their attention in the beginning, this would've not happened now.”
West ultimately voted to approve aiding the community.
Councilman John Booros said when the town created an ad-hoc committee to look into the issue it assumed some responsibility for the problem. Councilman Michael Coté agreed, saying it was ultimately up to the town to approve the community's design.
“The developer's name is not on the approval. They did not sign it as approved,” he said. “A town representative signed it as approved, so there's room for debate who's responsible and how much.”
Despite the HOA's offer to pay for about half of the cost, Weston questioned why homeowners have to pay for a problem they did not have anything to do with.
“I don't know why I'm even paying the portion I'm offering to pay,” he said. “I didn't do this. I did not cause these signs to not be there. I didn't cause this community to be designed the way it's designed.”
Council called the HOA's offer commendable, as it helps put to bed a longstanding public safety issue.
Because the ad-hoc committee only received an estimate from one sign company, council advised the group to contact other sign manufacturers in the region to see if they can get a lower price. If they cannot, the project will move forward with the approved funds.