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Pa. football club continues efforts to build stadium

October 17, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Wayne Gardens neighbors again chided the Waynesboro Borough Council for allowing a local youth football program to proceed with plans to build a playing field in their neighborhood when, they say, so many of them oppose it.

The Stallions, a youth football association that serves about 250 players, announced plans earlier this year to build the field, a field house and a concession stand on a 9-acre borough-owned vacant field in the middle of Wayne Gardens, a housing development built in the 1950s and 1960s in the borough's south end.

Harold G. Martin, a leader in the neighborhood opposition group, read a letter on behalf of the group that said the council has ignored all of its protests and is "proceeding to allow a commercial operation in our park which will create traffic congestion, parking problems and noise. All of which will result in the loss of property values and will forever prevent the use of this area as a park and playground for families."

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Legal entanglements involving deed covenants that ban commercial development in the field may prove to be more of a stumbling block for the Stallions than the neighbors' opposition.

The covenants appear on the original deeds of more than 70 property owners in the neighborhood. Each original deed covers multiple property owners.

To proceed with the project, estimated to cost around $500,000, the Stallions will have to get 51 percent of the affected property owners in all of the original deeds to waive their restrictive covenants.

Kevin Grubbs, Stallions president, researched the deeds at the Franklin County Courthouse. He told the council Wednesday night that at first he found three original deeds. More digging into the records produced what may be two more although they may overlap the first three, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

If that's the case - and the borough's attorney will determine that - property owners in the three original deeds would be canvassed. If the Stallions fail to get 51 percent of the property owners in just one of the three original deeds to sign away covenants, the project is dead.

Tengler told the eight to 10 homeowners present Wednesday that he wants to let the affected homeowners decide the issue by signing or not signing away their deed restrictions.

Still to be determined is who will canvass the homeowners - the Stallions, borough employees or a designee.

The borough attorney is drafting the document the homeowners will be asked to sign.

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