Sub-division residents air desire for improvements Adamstown will see new signs

By on October 10, 2012

By: JAMES MCGINNIS Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Residents of an Adamstown subdivision want borough officials to pressure the owner to make improvements.

Debbie Schmidt, president of the Stauffer’s Village subdivision, complained to borough officials at their Oct. 2 meeting that the current owner of the mixed-use development, located behind Ed Stoudt’s near the south end of town, has not responded to requests from residents and business owners to improve its increasingly dilapidated appearance.

Developer Terrence Douglas Corporation purchased the subdivision, which was previously called Stoudt’s Village, in 2007. Although initial plans called for the construction of 73 new units in the development, which features a combination of businesses and townhomes built around a central plaza, these stalled after the recession of late 2008, and the developer currently plans to sell the complex.

Schmidt claimed that Terrence Douglas has increasingly neglected the subdivision since it announced plans to sell it. She claimed that the landscaping and lighting have fallen into disrepair, and a new public restroom building that was recently constructed in the central plaza has a shoddy appearance and was made with substandard materials.

"The inside of the restroom building is OK, but the outside looks crappy, pardon the pun," Schmidt told the council. "They did this to laugh at the villagers and show us how seriously they take our concerns."

She also noted that Terrence Douglas plans to build a second floor onto the restroom building, which she said would make it look even worse. She asked the borough council to use money from several letters of credit to force the owner to improve and complete the landscaping and lighting before proceeding with any new construction.

"We are in limbo," Schmidt said. "He wants to sell it, so he hasn’t done anything."

However, members of the council were reluctant to take any action.

Councilwoman Cindy Shweitzerr said that Douglas is meeting the requirements of the law as long as the restrooms are open to the public and functional.

"The law says nothing about how the restrooms look," she said. "They just need to be available for public use and functioning."

Councilman Randy Good also noted that the borough is trying to stay neutral in the dispute.

"I don’t think the borough is doing anything to promote or discourage a sale of the village," he said. "We’re not trying to shirk our responsibility, but we think it’s really a situation between the homeowners and the developer."

In spite of the disputes, Schmidt said that she still enjoys living in the subdivision, but wants to see improvements made.

"The concept of the combination of residential and commercial uses and the old world appearance is so neat," she said. "There are cobblestone streets and it’s lit up at night."

Terrence Douglas Corporation could not be reached for comment.

Borough officials also noted at the meeting that they plan to start drafting the 2013 budget. Good said that he expected the final draft to be approved by the December meeting, while Schweitzer noted that the council does not anticipate it including any major fiscal changes.

"This budget does not include any tax increases or hikes in water or sewer usage rates at this time," she said. "This is still very preliminary."

The council also agreed to replace the sign outside the Adamstown municipal building and public library off Route 272. Councilman Joe Dietrich noted that the current sign, which was erected several years ago as part of a Boy Scout’s Eagle project, is showing wear and tear. He added that the new sign will say "Welcome to Adamstown, a great place to hang your hat" and feature a changeable letter portion that the borough and local non-profits can use to post messages. The letters will be stored in a box on the back of the sign.

Council members also voted 6 to 1 to post signs next to the playground in the borough park that are intended to discourage people from smoking. The signs will state "Young Lungs At Play." Compliance will be voluntary and violators will not be cited or prosecuted.

"These signs will be requesting that people refrain from smoking at the playground," Good said.

Councilman Ed Zander cast the dissenting vote. More ADAMSTOWN, page A11

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