Carroll Valley Council explains borough lot sales; honors Patrolman Seth Reed

At Tuesday’s meeting, some Carroll Valley Borough council members expressed concerns that residents didn’t get preferential treatment regarding purchasing lots being sold by the borough.

“This whole thing is crazy for the people of Carroll Valley,” said council member Kari Buterbaugh. “I’ve been waiting for borough lots which I was told would not come up for sale now coming up for sale. Why is it we aren’t giving benefit to the people of Carroll Valley (to have) first rites of refusal?” she asked, later adding her worry that developers were eager to buy up “every lot in the borough.”

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Borough solicitor Zach Rice explained that according to statute, any borough property over $6,000 could not be sold to anyone other than the highest bidder after the appropriate notice. He said the statute does not allow the council to limit the pool of interested parties to just borough residents.

Council president Richard Mathews asked whether a homeowner could purchase an adjacent borough lot without going through a more formal purchase process.

Rice reiterated that any property appraised at $6,000 or more had to follow the legal statute. “That requirement goes away if we’re talking about a property appraised at less than $6,000,” Rice added.

Borough secretary John Schubring felt the board should represent the residents’ wishes regarding lot sales. “Could we also have a period where citizens of Carroll Valley could let us know their concerns or interests in a particular lot or opposition to any lots being sold?” he asked.

Rice suggested that the council could informally inform residents that they plan to sell certain lots and invite public feedback. However, once the borough officially decides to advertise the sale of a lot or lots, legal obligations arise that “you do have to comply with.” He said he would look into some of the questions and suggestions made by council members and get back to them.

Patrolman honored

Carroll Valley Patrolman Seth Reed was given a Life Saving Award for outstanding performance and prompt action in saving a human life. He received a round of applause for his actions.

On May 15, Patrolman Reed found an unconscious male lying next to a lawn mower and quickly had dispatch call for an ambulance to the scene while he provided first aid to the man, later identified as Wellington Carter. Carter was transported to the hospital and treated for a medical emergency. He later said he had been lying alone for over an hour without assistance and was grateful Officer Reed had found him.

Chief Clifford Weikert, currently seeking to hire another police officer, said it is challenging to find applicants to fill the police vacancy within the borough. “We’ve gotten a couple of applicants, but not many,” he said, adding that it is a country-wide problem. “We’re going to keep grinding away at it, and hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll get somebody like Seth.

Trailer ordinance amended

An amendment has once again been made to “trailer ordinance” after being considered and debated for nearly six months.

At issue is the number of trailered vehicles that can be kept on a property under two acres. With so many definitions of trailers, RVs, campers, and other work and recreational vehicles, the challenge has been defining what constitutes a trailer.

Solicitor Rice recommended that the ordinance be written to include a list of vehicles as examples but include the phrase “includes, but is not limited to.” By doing that, the borough could create a list of examples but not exclude other items that might arise later. After discussion and revision, the ordinance will be advertised and sent to the Adams County planning office for comments or recommendations. The ordinance could be back on the July agenda.

The public has spoken

More than 60 area Fairfield kindergarten students experienced democracy firsthand when they visited the Carroll Valley municipal building recently. After a presentation by borough manager David Hazlett, the students were allowed to vote on which candy would be offered following lunch. Each child was given a ballot, voted for their favorite, and submitted it to the ballot box.

“What if I don’t get the candy I voted for,” asked one concerned young citizen. “Well, that is how democracy works,” explained Hazlett, wearing his judge of elections hat. After the votes were counted, Sour Patch Kids won by a landslide, according to assistant borough manager and pollster Gayle Marthers.

As fascinating as the voting process proved to be, the kindergarten students were also excited to hear about the job of a police officer, view a cell and a patrol car, and then proudly pledge to serve as junior police officers for the Valley.

Following the ceremony, they all received their badges.

Featured image caption: Carroll Valley Patrolman Seth Reed was given a Life Saving award at Tuesday’s council meeting. From left, Mayor Ron Harris, Reed, Brittany Reed, and Police Chief Cliff Weikert. 


Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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1 year ago

Always good to see Judith at the Borough Council meeting.

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