Police Chief Richard Tarsa, left, one of the traffic commissioners, says he likes to see neighbors work out their issues.
ADAMS, Mass. — Mullen Moving and Storage has worked out a new protocol to keep Phillips Hill open to residents who live at the top of the narrow road.
During a Traffic Commission meeting Tuesday, Marty Mullen of Mullen Moving outlined to the commission and residents how the company plans to limit parking on the road that swings up behind the mill to an upper floor loading dock.
"I let the banter go back forth, so you folks could work this out with management," Police Chief and Traffic Commissioner Richard Tarsa said. "That is what we like to see, and it sounds like the neighborhood just worked it out."
Last month the Traffic Commission heard from Phillips Hill residents who said vehicles using the loading dock on the hill often are left unattended completely blocking the road for sometimes upwards of 20 minutes.
Residents also complained of confrontational loaders and unresponsive management.
Tarsa asked to table the issue until next meeting so Mullen Moving and Storage could be represented.
Mullen said since the complaints have come in they have tried to limit consumer use to the first and second floors and only allow commercial use on the upper floors. Commercial use typically only happens on weekdays. Also, commercial haulers are better at maneuvering the tight road, following protocol, and moving their vehicles quickly after freight has been moved to the dock.
"Unless there is a large piece of furniture or a piano that won't go up the stairs, only commercial movers can go through that dock," he said. "That is the goal and the policy as it stands now ... We don’t want them to park there, we want them to move. That is the way we designed it."
Mullen said there may still be some consumer use on those floors but whoever wants access to the dock must sign in with management, who will meet the person at the dock and unlock it from the inside. The employee will then stay with the person until their haul is loaded onto the staging area properly.
"When someone wants access to that third floor the employee has to be there," he said. "It is not only no unattended vehicles but no unattended use of the dock ... I think this will help a lot."
Mullen apologized and admitted that part of the difficulty in the past was that there was no full-time manager and the facility was going through a transition, however, this has been rectified.
He said signage has also been added and a security camera is now pointed at the dock. He said this feed can be viewed not only from the office but from his phone.
Tarsa said he was pleased with Mullen’s efforts and said they have a history of working with law enforcement.
"There is a check and balance system in play regarding this and the added security camera gives them more accountability at the loading dock," Tarsa said. "That was a good move on their part."
Tarsa did note that the signs are not enforceable, and the commission voted to recommend placing an "Unattended Vehicles Subject to Fines" signs on the premise.
"It is up to us to find a reasonable solution and we don’t want to infringe on their business," Tarsa said. "There are already options within our code that we can take from within our current ticket books and it would be up to the officer's discretion which fine they would issue for the offense."
This recommendation must go before the Selectmen for approval.
Residents Katherine Dick and Matt Davis said they were happy with the changes and said they already have noticed fewer blockages.
Davis did say if they do have to call the police the call would likely be a low priority and asked Tarsa how police can write a fine if the car gone by the time they get there.
Tarsa said the car would have to be present for them to write a ticket.
"If they are not there we cannot tag it but still the car is no longer blocking you," he said. "I understand what you are saying but the proper protocol is you call us, and we will come up there if the car is gone that is just how it is."
Mullen said with an actual full-time manager on the premise the police should not have to be called and Tarsa added that the Adams Police Department are now more aware of the issue.
Dick also asked that haulers be told that there is no turn around area at the end of the hill. Mullen said he thought this was a good idea.
Commissioner Thomas Satko asked if there was a lift of some kind in the facility.
Mullen said there was a lift at the facility before he bought it that is no longer operational. He said to bring it up to code would make it useless.
"They change the code so much that it shrunk the size of the car to the size of a telephone booth so it was self-defeating the only thing you could put in there is a person," Mullen said. "It used to be a freight elevator and it was great. When I was a boy I would go there you would pull the chain and up you went."
Tarsa added before concluding that the Department of Public Works will also cut vegetation near the road to improve visibility.
In other business, Tarsa said he would like to review the current regulations and asked the commissioners to take a look at them for next meeting
"Just some housekeeping things. You may catch the same things that I did and more," Tarsa said. "More than one set of eyes is good."
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