Cracks in proposed sidewalk ordinance noted in Adamstown

By on July 13, 2016

Fee waiver requests have been increasing in Adamstown Borough and were discussed at the July 5 council meeting.

The requests are likely to escalate with a more clarified sidewalk ordinance expected to be adopted within two months.

Young first-time homeowners Jeremy and Victoria Motter moved to West Main Street in May and were “hit” with a sidewalk violation within their first 40 days.

Victoria Motter addressed council, at times in tears, regarding the violation. She cited in detail personal financial issues that are challenging the couple to meet the corrective requirements of the violation.

“In January 2015, we hit a really big roadblock because I tore my rotator cup lifting a patient which put a halt to our house hunting,” said Victoria. “At about eight months in to my injury, they talked about ceasing all medical treatments and firing me from my job.

“So then we really fell down a little bit, worrying about bills, not taking care of our five-month old, at the time, daughter. We put every penny, and pretty much our savings into staying on top of our bills. By some luck, my shoulder actually finally came through and I returned to work Dec. 1st of last year.”

Jeremy works for Ephrata Ambulance and Victoria works for Westwood Fire Company. They moved from Ephrata due to concerns about crime.

“We witnessed a drug deal exchange on our front porch of our apartment (Fulton House),” said Victoria Motter. “We had a baby that’s walking and wants to play outside and we can’t have this.

“We came and looked at this house and fell in love with it. It has an extra bedroom for my grandmother. It has room for us to be in it forever. We’re going to have our kids, our grandkids, we want to live in it forever. It’s a safe borough. My husband always wanted to have his family back in his school district, Cocalico, so now we’re in a position to do that.”

The borough had mailed the Motters a sidewalk violation.

The Motters live across the street from the post office.

“At least once a day we hear a car hit the curb and chuck a chunk of it,” said Motter. “It’s definitely exacerbating the deterioration of that sidewalk.

“We are here in hopes that some sort of assistance or direction of how we can progress with this and understanding that we don’t have the funds at this point.”

The sidewalk ordinance will be discussed in the Aug. 2 meeting and will be adopted early fall.

Council’s response was mixed.

“We have some sidewalks in town that are not in good condition and curbs that need to be improved so people can push a baby carriage on or walk on it without falling, hurting themselves, etc., etc.,” said President Randy Good. “There’s more than a handful of them that needs to be addressed.

“Don’t lose any sleep over it right now,” Good advised Motter.

“We’ll work together and see what we can come up with,” said Councilman Mark Bansner.

“But the repairs will need to be made; it’s just the matter of the time frame,” said Councilwoman Cindy Schweitzer. “With the old ordinance or the new ordinance, the repairs need to be made.”

Later in the meeting, the sidewalk topic came up again.

“I think we definitely need to have criteria defined,” Schweitzer said. “There should be no involvement, it should be, ‘Here it is, you’re in violation,’ so there’s no favoritism.’”

In finance news, Schweitzer discussed charging fees for “waiver of fee” requests.

“If somebody wants their water or sewer waived because of a leak or whatever the case may be, if they are requesting it, it would be a $20 fee,” said Schweitzer. “Hopefully that would get us away from some of the frivolous that we have to address.”

Michele Walter Fry welcomes your comments at michelewalterfry@gmail.com.

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