Durham Township Supervisor Chairman Bartley E. Millett promised to look into the facts surrounding a quarrel between neighbors to determine where the truth lies and what action the supervisors can take, if any.
During public comments at the board’s March meeting, Mark Rotker, a 20-year resident of the township who lives on Route 212, told the supervisors his neighbor’s recently installed bright LED lights shining into his bedroom window interfere with his sleep, and constitute “a malicious invasion of privacy.”
He said the small bungalow next to his property had been purchased by Kevin Roberts, whom he claimed was “a greedy real estate developer who buys and sells houses.” He said the Roberts property looked “like a Walmart parking lot.” He complained to Roberts on several occasions, he said, but nothing was done to correct the situation.
Rotker said he had been in touch with Edward Child, township zoning officer, since before Christmas but cited his delay in responding to his latest telephone call. He also claimed Roberts didn’t get permits for anything until Ed Child stopped him. “I don’t understand why it has taken two months. This is an emergency situation,” he said.
Rotker had copies of the zoning ordinance and claimed Roberts had violated several. He said the Roberts house is “two-thirds larger than it originally was,” and the LED lights were on every corner of the house.
Rotker said the house is now for sale and claimed Roberts “is setting me up for problems with a future neighbor.” He said, “I don’t see why I have to come to a township meeting just to sleep in my own house.”
Child, the zoning officer does not ordinarily attend supervisor meetings and he was not present at the March session.
Speaking in rebuttal of Rotker, Elizabeth Roberts, who was representing her husband, Kevin Roberts, said, “The lights are still up and still turned down,” in accordance with the zoning law. She said, “We are not greedy real estate developers. We feel we’ve added value to the property.”
She said, “They’re security lights. The house is in the woods,” and further said they had decided to move to a larger house because they are expecting a baby.
Rotker said, “If the light fixture is removed, that would be the end.”
Supervisor Richard Johnson said, “We do not control the zoning officer.”
Millett added that the supervisors do not have the power to overturn Child’s ruling. He said, though, he would look into the matter immediately.
Supervisor Kathleen Gentner expressed concerns that any action could affect other homeowners with security lights.
In other business, the board authorized Peter Nelson, township solicitor, to prepare and advertise a right-of-way ordinance and a zoning amendment directed at Verizon’s 5G wireless telecommunications stations to be placed in the township.
The technology will offer speedier bandwidths and reduced lagtime.