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Study says Waynesboro has high rate of renters

March 19, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

A recently completed housing study found the Borough of Waynesboro has an especially high population of renters.

Forty-eight percent of households are renters, compared to Pennsylvania's average of 29 percent, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

Councilman C. Harold Mumma mentioned several properties geared to senior citizens or low- to moderate-income families.

"That's one of the things that shoots our rental properties so high," he said.

The Waynesboro Borough Council held a special workshop Wednesday evening to review the 100-page housing study, which recommended the borough encourage owner occupancy of units and look at the needs of senior citizens, handicapped people, and the in-town work force.

The council paid Spotts, Stevens and McCoy of Reading, Pa., approximately $5,000 to complete the study. Members hope the document will give them more influence when applying for grants in the future.

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"Was the borough ever at 10,000?" Councilman Charles "Chip" McCammon asked during a discussion about population.

Hamberger and Mayor Richard Starliper said the population hit that mark for some time in the 1970s and/or 1980s. However, Waynesboro lost population for several years until a small increase between 1990 and 2000.

Borough officials said they anticipate hitting the 10,000 mark in the 2010 Census. The 2007 estimate was 9,876 people.

The study found 510 women who serve as the head of their household in Waynesboro. Of those, 315 had children younger than 18.

"It is much more difficult for a single female householder to find adequate and affordable housing than a two-adult household. Female-headed households face many challenges including a reduction in disposable income due to child care costs and medical expenses," the consultants wrote.

"That's an area we need to look at for possible housing," said Councilman Ronnie Martin, who works as a Realtor.

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