Stoneham Homeowner Living in ‘Mud Pit’ After Sewer Work
Feb 14, 2019 09:07PM
● By Lisa Redmond
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STONEHAM – After buying her dream home at 67-69 Maple St. in Stoneham, school teacher Jessica Eaton was looking forward to a quiet summer to enjoy her new driveway, beautifully landscaped yard and a new puppy.
But last summer, Eaton’s plans for peace and quiet quickly became every homeowner’s worst nightmare as heavy construction equipment tore up her lawn, and created noise and mud, as a sewer line was installed through her property.
Despite promises from the town that her property would be restored to its “original’’ condition, Eaton said she is living in a “mud pit’’ with her lawn gone, the fence she painted is damaged, as were her trees, and her new driveway is patched and potholed.
Standing before the Board of Selectmen during the public comment portion of their Feb. 5, Eaton, 23, who moonlights as a cheerleading coach and tutor, asked the board for help.
While Selectman Chairman Shelly A. MacNeill said the board doesn’t comment on issues raised during public comment, she did refer the matter to Interim Town Manager Debora Pettengill.
In a response to a request by North Suburban News for comment, Pettengil said, “I have reached out to Ms. Eaton re: her concerns of her property and I will be scheduling a meeting with her and the new town administrator, who will be starting in Stoneham early next week.’’
Eaton explained that she received a notice months before the work begin informing her that a sewer line was being installed and the line would run behind her house, under her yard and driveway.
“Every morning at 6 a.m., I would smell cigarette smoke and hear trucks beeping,’’ she told the board.
Heavy construction vehicles drove over her yard and trough her garden, “destroying everything,’’ she said. Her painted fence was pulled up and dumped behind her newly planted trees, she said. To add insult to injury, a portable toilet was placed in her front yard.
“I was told the work would take five-to-seven weeks and my property would be restored to its original condition,’’’ she said.
Telling herself she needed to be patient, Eaton even baked cookies and brought cold water to the workers.
But now the trucks and workers have moved on and she is left with a yard that is a “mud pit.’’ Aside from the visible damage, Eaton said the pitch of the land was changed so that for the first time, water and mud “runs like a stream’’ through her garage.
“My tenants and I have not been able to use my yard,’’ Eaton said.
She told the board she sent emails to the Stoneham Department of Public Works seeking help, but received no response. She turned to the selectmen for help, she said.
“I’ve endured every homeowner’s nightmare of construction,’’ she said. “Please help.’’
Selectman Caroline Colarusso told Eaton, “I apologize for what happened to you.’’
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