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Pelham Residents Frustrated by Board's Resolution

PELHAM, N.Y. - Several residents of Hillside and Brookside avenues expressed frustration with the Pelham Village Board’s decision on Tuesday night to pass a resolution making those streets public.

“I’ve lived here since about 1980 and it was always a private street,” said Anthony DeVito of Brookside Avenue. “It’s ridiculous because no one wanted to give us the time of day. Now, they want to have the right to put this pipe down, so they just reversed 80 years of history in order to do that.”

DeVito said he has documentation to back up his assertion that Brookside Avenue is a private street.

“I have letters that show that Clovelly asked to have the street paved by the town, the village, and we were told that it was a private street – that they wouldn’t pave it," said the longtime resident of Pelham. "I believe it was signed by the mayor or administrator.”

He and his wife, Kobie DeVito, are not pleased with Mayor Ed Hotchkiss or the Picture House Movie Theater.

“I think they want to have this drainage pipe going through here,” said Anthony DeVito. “That’s exactly what’s involved here and they’ll do anything to get it.”

Hotchkiss said the board did not make its decision solely to benefit the Picture House.

“Because it was the Picture House permit that started this, there’s some people who live on those streets might think that we’re doing this in order to make sure that this happens for the Picture House because we feel it’s for the good of the village,” the mayor said after Tuesday's meeting. “But that’s not the case. Really, the reason is that you just can’t have a situation where you don’t know who owns the road. So, that’s what we’ve always maintained. Some people might not believe it, but we still maintain it.”

The DeVitos were not the only ones in that area who had a problem with the board passing the resolution. Robert Zweig of Hillside Avenue said his street had always been considered a private road, but now that is no longer the case.

“We’ve always proceeded under the idea that it was a private road,” said Zweig. “It’s kind of surprising, but I don’t know all the legalities of it.”

Zweig said he had to take care of an accident himself because the street was considered private.

“I always thought that there was even a deed that said that,” said Zweig. “In fact, a tree once fell on my car and split my car in half – and so I thought it was private. So, the town or whoever had no responsibility in that regard. I took care of it myself, which was a big expense.”

Tim Ball, who has lived on Brookside Avenue for six years, sides with his fellow residents.

“I would just say that this is probably disadvantageous to the residents of the street and I could see why they’d be concerned about the change,” he said.

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