A parcel of land on Hillside Drive that was purchased by Boston Highway Superintendent Robert Telaak at an auction caused a stir at the town’s most recent board meeting. On Wednesday, June 5, several Boston residents, led by Brian Burns, who lives on nearby Chestnut Lane, took the opportunity to voice their opinions regarding some recent developments that have resulted in Telaak’s purchase. Several of those voices challenged the plan to develop a turnaround (primarily for snowplows) at the end of the narrow road.
During his time to speak, Burns said that Telaak’s stated intention upon purchasing the land was “to develop the property and subdivide it into three lots.” Burns said, “(Telaak) took down most of the trees, [and] the house on the property was demolished by Bob Telaak. I requested any and all permits that were issued for the property. No permits were issued. No permits were applied for or granted since 1967 . . . . Were there any state or local laws broken for both the baring of the house on site with no permits and no hazardous material study done?
“Bob Telaak used Town of Boston trucks to bring in many loads of fill to the lower part of his property. The dirt was moved across town, up the hill – again with no permits – changing the elevation of the property. The property at the lower level, Hillside, now has a completely different elevation. I have been a mechanic for over 30 years. I know there’s a substantial cost in the maintenance of heavy duty vehicles going up and down hills. There is also a cost in man hours and fuel to move dirt up a hill, a large hill with big trucks.
“Bob has now proposed the building of a road at the end of Chestnut Lane. When asked at the last town meeting in person, the supervisor informed me that the purpose was to make a plow turnaround and also for the safety of the plow and safety of the equipment at that area. I suggest the purpose is to gain access to the property from Chestnut Lane for Bob so this would give him the ability to fill the land at the end of the road from that road. The access from Hillside is currently inaccessible with a dump truck. You would have to drive over soft dirt to fill in that property.
Linda Janish, a town resident who lives on Chestnut lane, said, “I’ve lived at that address 49 out of the last 51 years. I was born there . . . . Eventually, the town decided to extend the road to its current length . . . . When that was done, it was done in such a fashion to accommodate the largest plows you had at the time, and I don’t believe they’re any bigger now. And I can assure you, spending 49 out of 51 winters there, plows turned around with no difficulty, and I will swear on a stack of Bible for that. The smaller plows that you now use turn around without difficulty. If somebody has an issue with turning around any equipment that they drive as a town employee, then I would have to question their driving ability. There’s certainly no reason why anybody who has that type of vehicle and is trained properly cannot turn around at the end.
“It’s quite evident and it’s quite simple that this is mere unethical behavior by Mr. Telaak, because we all would not be here even debating this issue if any one of us beside Mr. Telaak bought that piece of property and wanted access to it. It’s that simple.”
When asked by Telaak if the garbage truck “turns down the road or . . . [has] to back in,” Janish responded, “He chooses to back down. And that should not be your concern, Mr. Telaak. It’s simply unethical. It’s very, very simply unethical because we would not even be having this discussion if anybody but Mr. Telaak bought that property and needed access to it. It’s that simple.”
There were a few people who took the chance to express their favor of the turnaround. Russ Goldberg of Hillcrest Avenue in Boston said the road extension would allow him to get gas and water. Jerry Krencik, a town employee for the last 25 years, said, “.all the turnarounds are terrible up there. I chip brush most of the time – we don’t even go down Chestnut Lane anymore because, with the chipper, you can’t turn around. You take a big plow truck up there, you can’t get turned around. Like he said, there are no turnarounds up there on that hill that are decent. We got to have big turnarounds. We have to do it.”
Regarding the ethical accusations, Telaak took the opportunity to say the following: “To clarify some of the questions tonight, I did have a demolition permit to knock the house down [which Telaak had on him at the board meeting] . . . . As far as the fill, I filled out a sheet last year for fill, so when we took the fill up, I did have a sheet filled out for the fill. As far as knocking the house down, it was totally legal to knock the house down. I owned it. It’s my property. I did it myself. It was totally legal. As far as burying a house, you can bury a single-family house on your own property, if it’s a single-family house or an agricultural building, so it was totally legal. I checked it all out. So just for the people making accusations tonight, I’d like to clarify that.”
“I appreciate the people coming in tonight and stating how they feel about road extensions and so forth,” said Supervisor Martin Ballowe. He added, “I have walked the property with the attorney. I have been up there with the highway superintendent. Our engineer will now look at it. We don’t take it lightly. The whole board, all five people agreed for the turnaround . . . not one of us said it was a bad idea.”