Houlton town council rejects residents’ request for new streetlight

8 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — Residents from several properties on Columbia Street in Houlton requested an additional streetlight last month from the town council. 

But on Monday night, the council rejected the request in a 4 to 1 vote, citing the Houlton Police chief’s evaluation of the area. 

Councilor Eileen McLaughlin cast the only vote in favor of adding the streetlight for the residents of Columbia Street. 

In August, Chief Tim DeLuca parked on Columbia Street around 11 p.m. to observe the lighting near properties at 53, 51, 49 and 46 Columbia St.

“I parked at night to get a good view of what the residents were asking for,” DeLuca said on Monday night. “I sat there for quite a long time and my evaluation was that there is enough light.”

DeLuca explained that while the typical lighting pattern in Houlton is a light on every other pole, the area in question had two poles in between the lights. They are not directly under a light, but they are not in total darkness, he said. 

In a previous memo to the town council, DeLuca said he did not recommend an additional streetlight because there is no intersection, it is not completely dark and the two area streetlights provide adequate lighting. 

The residents from the four Columbia Street properties asked the town council to reconsider in a letter read at the meeting Monday night.

“We know that Chief DeLuca did a drive-by and observed the lighting in the area to be adequate, but we still have concerns,” the residents said in the letter. 

The streetlight near 45 Columbia St. is partly blocked by tree branches, which makes it hard for drivers to see people walking on the street, according to the residents. They asked the council to think about safety in this area of the street. 

Several councilors asked if it was possible to trim the tree branches. 

“We do want people to be safe,” McLaughlin said. “I do listen to what the chief says, but if there are that many people, I am going to vote yes.”

In August, the town council unanimously approved adding a streetlight between 1 and 3 Weeks St. also on DeLuca’s recommendation. 

According to DeLuca, a portion of the Weeks Street location has no lighting and it is dark. Additionally, there are no sidewalks and visibility is low for drivers turning onto Weeks Street from Court Street.