BERLIN — More concerns surfaced this week regarding the lack of lighting in the Decatur Farms community in Berlin, resulting in the Mayor and Town Council promising to improve a situation complicated by pending litigation between developers.
“Several homeowners have come to us expressing concerns,” said Kelly Soscia, president of Decatur Farms Townhome Association, at Monday’s Council meeting.
The insufficient lighting has led to other issues such as vandalism and suspicious characters, according to Soscia.
“We’ve had an incident of vandalism where a homeowner has replaced their car … We’ve had windows that were broken, birdfeeders that have been shot out,” she said. “We’ve had a home that was broken into that is currently in foreclosure.”
Even more disconcerting were a few sightings of unknown or suspicious people in the neighborhood.
“We had an incident when a homeowner’s fiancé was followed home by a gentleman while she was walking her dog,” said Soscia.
There have been lighting issues at Decatur Farms since it was developed. The fight for more lights has been sidelined, however, by an ongoing court battle. While Berlin isn’t involved in that litigation, Mayor Gee Williams was frank in saying that it does present an obstacle in keeping the town from lending a hand.
Complications aside, Williams promised Soscia that the council makes safety a priority in Berlin and will do everything to extend that to Decatur Farms.
“We’ll take a very serious look at this. I know that the reason we have so much lighting in all neighborhoods is purely for this, for safety,” he said.
The mayor also took a shot at the companies “who prefer to spend more time in court than they do talking” and allow litigation to stall a promise to install new lighting. He asked that Town Administrator Tony Carson and Town Attorney Dave Gaskill examine the situation to see what options the council has for helping Decatur Farms. The goal, said Williams, is to have something in place by the next daylight savings change in the fall.
Until more lighting can be added, Councilwoman Lisa Hall suggested that the BPD make extra trips to the development. Chief Arnold Downing agreed that it would be easy to do but told the council that the department already maintains a strong presence in the area.