For at least the past six years the six homes on Holly Lane have been stranded without snowplow service, left to face harsh Fulton County winters with only each other and a few snowblowers.
But on Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisor’s finance committee agreed to give up possession of the dirt road in the town of Johnstown so the town could plow it, Johnstown Supervisor Roy Palmateer said.
“They said after Jan. 1 they will turn the road over to us and we’ll take care of it,” Palmateer said. “It’s actually an emergency situation. At the end of the road they’ve got a woman who’s kind of an invalid, and we thought it was our responsibility to help them.”
Residents on Holly Lane Wednesday expressed concerns for an 87-year-old disabled woman who they said lived at the end of the road and was effectively trapped every time it snowed.
“If she had a medical emergency, the ambulances could never get back there in time,” said Holly Lane resident Carl Graf.
Residents interviewed said they didn’t know the woman’s name. The home at the end of Holly Lane has a wheelchair ramp outside of it.
Graf, 80, said he moved to Holly Lane from Long Island about four years ago. When he moved, he said he had no idea the road would never be plowed. Graf led a group of Holly Lane residents to complain to the Johnstown Town Board earlier this month, hoping something could be done to help them.
“We came in force because we’re sick and tired of this,” he said. “Every time it snows, we’re stuck here.”
Tony Raczynski said he’s lived on Holly Lane for 10 years, the longest of anyone on the road. He said the original owners of the modular development, B&B Housing, had promised to plow the dirt road, which is a dead-end spur off of Progress Road. He said for the first year he lived there the developer did plow the road but then stopped and ultimately allowed the road and 13 acres of undeveloped land to be foreclosed on by the county. He said he and other residents have tried to get Fulton County to help them, but county officials refused.
Fulton County Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost said even though the county owned Holly Lane, he couldn’t authorize county snowplows to clear it because it’s not a county highway.
“All I can really plow is county highways,” Yost said. “That’s all we plow unless I have a contract with a town or the state to plow their roads. [Some Holly Lane residents] called me maybe once four months ago, and that’s the last I heard from them because it really has nothing to do with the highway department.”
Palmateer said with the town taking over the road, conditions should improve for the residents. He said he’s not sure if the town will pay to have it paved, but it will probably upgrade the road at some point.
“We’ll probably try to bring it up to snuff with some gravel,” he said.
Raczynski said he’s glad the town is going to take over the road.
“If it snows, it’s rough. I go to work at 5 a.m. in the morning. I’m usually the first one out of here, and you’re bucking snow the whole way,” he said.
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