The Godfather

The old guy standing at the edge of the hole is Angelo Petrosino, the primary developer of the project. He's one of those hard-line old school Italian builders and *very* stubborn about what he wants. We fought him for fifteen or more years in the Andover planning commission, attending the public hearings as what may have amounted to the peasants with pitchforks and torches, expressing our distaste for his "lost colony" subdivision plan -- a dozen new houses crammed into a tiny triangle of land bordered by a swamp, a limited-access state highway, and our community. The plot is only accessible by an indirect route through our neighboring town, and most of us knew that development there would bring a large number of bad ideas along with it. Angelo's unwavering persistence in wanting to build this anyway helped give rise to our neighborhood email lists, as I tried to help spearhead efforts to pull people together toward the goal of *never* having this land developed and simply remain a pleasant little tract of woods that helped buffer most of the highway noise. We knew right up front that building there would just be a mess and have negative effects on traffic, infrastructure, and the whole dynamic and character of our otherwise quiet cul-de-sac neighborhood, and in general we didn't want it here.

In the meantime Angelo had the one blue house you see behind him approved and built at the corner of the loop and conveniently installed his own neice and her family in it, so one of the closest abutters to the project would obviously raise no objections. He also went to the Massachusetts Land Court to whine and stamp his feet until they granted him some set of permits he needed, and bludgeoned the Mass Highway department into letting him connect a hotly-disputed "emergency access" to the restricted state road bordering one side of the subdivision to give the Andover responders a faster way to access the neighborhood if needed without having to take the two-mile detour through ours with howling fire engines. Then Angelo gathered a mosquito-cloud of lawyers and flat-out *SUED* our town over water-supply rights, and unfortunately our town's planners and selectmen knuckled under to this childish extortion and acceded to his desire to tap off of our water supply. Which brings us to our water-main story here.

As the Andover planning commission finally approved his plan just to get it off their desks and out of their lives, albeit with about fifty conditions that Petrosino had to adhere to moving forward, massive and wanton destruction of perfectly good woodland commenced and a steady flow of log trucks and big construction vehicles ran over our roads. Our Selectmen finally convinced Andover that Petrosino needed to build a temporary construction-vehicle access straight off the state highway to avoid bringing that stuff through our neighborhood over the small "unapproved" streets. Still, the thudding of felled trees and bulldozing rattled our houses for months and then later came the dirt-compactor vibrating roller that had some of us genuinely concerned over the integrity of our house foundations. Even though the project activities are nominally isolated to Petrosino's plot of land, it's been affecting our neighborhood fairly profoundly. He doesn't give a crap. He thinks nothing of turning ecologically stable and pleasant environments into lifeless lunar landscapes and leaving them that way for several years, as he's done with other plots in the area.

The guy is somewhere around 80 years old and should have retired long ago, but apparently can't stop doing this stuff. Eventually he'll have to stop, and if his son Carmine doesn't pick up the torch with similar enthusiasm the world will become a better place. Frankly, I always hoped our resistance would outlive Angelo and the whole project would fall apart, but it's too late for that now. In the interim he has *never* attempted to actively engage any of our community and talk to any of us to explain why he thought any of this was a good idea. His new roadway is festooned with numerous "no trespassing" signs. He's never made any friendly gestures to his abutters at all, just continually tried to take end-runs around anybody's objections. In fact he barely speaks English, although when he tries to it's heavily accented in a low husky voice that totally brings Don Corleone back to life. For the most part he lets his hired-gun lawyers and engineers do all the official talking, but at the heart of the matter he simply will not give up. He's already spent enough on this project that it doesn't even seem likely to profit enough to provide his final retirement income; it has probably come down to some dubious matter of honor and face-saving at this point. At the expense of OUR community goodwill.

So his legacy will be a clutch of overpriced code-minimum McMansions and a frustrated [but mandated!] homeowners' association left to maintain this mess forever. I hope the members of the Andover planning board are spending their kickbacks wisely.