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Neighbors raise a stop sign

MEDFORD — As its name suggests, Clover Lane is a quiet, friendly neighborhood all unto itself despite just being off West Main Street in Medford.

Mike Arnold and more than 40 other neighbors on the half-mile lane want to maintain the peace by blocking efforts by the city to punch through two streets.

"If they cut those roads through, our quiet way of living is gone," said Arnold, 46.

Arnold and others presented a petition to the Medford City Council Thursday, asking that the city abandon proposals to extend Charles and Meadows lanes through to their street to create more east-west routes.

They fear that these new connections could bring an unsavory element into their area, which has an active neighborhood-watch program.

"It would connect us to a well-known drug area over on Columbus," said Arnold.

Neighbors also worry the road extensions would be a prelude to annexation, which would involve higher taxes and the possibility they would have to install sidewalks to meet city standards.

"Right now the annexation needs to stop," said Arnold.

Bianca Petrou, city assistant planning director, told three neighbors who protested at Thursday's meeting that the city is a long way from extending any roads to Clover Lane.

She said a public hearing will be scheduled to discuss Medford's future transportation goals, but some of these projects could be decades away.

"The roads may go through one day," she said.

As to annexation, she said the city would proceed only if the neighbors requested it. "There is no property annexation at this point," she said.

After neighbors objected that they weren't getting enough information from the city, the council adopted a motion that city staff would formally notify everyone on the petition about actions affecting Clover Lane.

Resident Cleatis Lemley said he routinely uses his BB gun to shoot at wild critters that stray onto his property from a field behind his house. If he were annexed and a road were punched through, Lemley said his property would become a corner lot.

"More traffic means more problems," Lemley said.

He said he would no longer be able to discharge a weapon or protect himself if he were part of the city. "I'm concerned about defending my property," he said.

Harry Hershey has been spearheading the local effort to block any annexation or street extensions. He said he wouldn't be surprised if the city wanted to extend his street so it connected with Stewart Avenue.

"People on this street have just had enough," he said.

The 66-year-old, who has lived on Clover for 35 years, estimates that many of the approximately 50 property owners along the street would have to pay about $15,000 to build sidewalks and driveways to meet city codes if they were annexed.

Because Hershey's property is longer than most others, he feared the costs for sidewalks could be even higher.

"I don't want to pay $25,000," said his wife, Alta.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

Neighbors raise a stop sign