All wet: Driveway issue, sidewalks and curbing ordinance dominate Adamstown meeting

By on June 14, 2017

The impact of water run-off onto a resident’s driveway led to more involved conversations about a sidewalk and curbing ordinance at the June 6 meeting of the Adamstown Borough Council.

Kerry Fisher, 466 Adamstown Road, was visibly upset when addressing council members regarding his ongoing driveway problem.

“I’m been trying to work with you guys about the water problem I have there with water running through the driveway,” said Fisher.

“I still have the problem and my driveway is getting deteriorated with the water running through it. I’m gonna have to seek myself some legal help. I just can’t deal with it anymore.”

“If you had curb at the front of your property, would that solve the problem?” asked Council President Randy Good.

“If we’re gonna start talkin’ curb, we got another problem,” said Fisher. “I can’t afford to put curbing in.”

“I think if the borough decides to put storm drain in, they will require the property owner to put curb in,” Good replied.

“I’m going to demand that you put curbing in,” said Fisher.

Good said council will look in to it. Fisher left visibly upset.

“He could have put black top over his driveway 10 years ago,” said Councilman Dave Matz. “He wants the government to do it.”

Councilman Mike Wetherhold noted the continuing conversation of redoing damaged sidewalks and curbs in the borough. An ordinance regarding this is a work in progress.

“I think the bottom line on this thing with inspections right now is that the quality of the workmanship and the adherence to our published specifications. I think these two items fall squarely on the shoulders of both the contractor and the homeowner,” said Wetherhold. “I think it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to deal with a reputable contractor, one that is aware of our sidewalk specifications.

“I’m recommending that we do not perform inspections except for those that involve the roadways.”

Council discussed the engineering of sidewalks and possible problems that could occur such as a snow plow damaging them.

“When you sent the violation letters out, who is going to make the determination that the repairs have been done and made properly?” asked Councilwoman Cindy Schweitzer.

“At this point, no one,” said Wetherhold.

Bob Getz, the appointed “sidewalk inspector,” has admitted that he is not qualified to inspect the sidewalks in the same manner as an engineer, noted Wetherhold.

“There are a few iffy details that need to be ironed out,” said resident Bob Stork. “In years past, whoever put the curbing in just did it to suit themselves, irregardless of what the town’s plans are for the slope or anything else.”

Good and Wetherhold said the specs are very specific.

Wetherhold made a motion that the borough not have inspections of the sidewalks but the curbing be inspected along with the roadway. The curbs must be inspected at a critical time in the process before pouring.

With a vote of 4-to-1, the ordinance was approved. Schweitzer voted against it; Councilwoman Jessica Kelly was absent.

As a result of former Councilman Joe Dietrich, complaint last month about trash on residential properties, council members have been looking in to updating the 1993 Property Maintenance Code to a 2015 version.

“We had a resident here, a former councilman, who was quite upset and told us what he thought,” said Good. “I think if you drive Main Street from Goods Chips to the pool, you can understand what he meant.”

An example of what is in the code: grass can be no longer than 10 inches high.

Schweitzer offered a motion to have the borough solicitor update the code to 2015.

It was approved 4-to-1 with Matz opposing.

“How are those issues enforceable, everybody who goes around saying this is a violation about someone’s trash cans sitting on a sidewalk, where do you draw the line?” asked Matz.

“Who goes out and measures that someone’s grass is more than 10 inches long?” asked Councilman Alex McManimen.

Council members, in further discussion, contended that enforcement would be “complaint based,” and pictures would be taken of the violations.

 

 

 

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