Church Street Light Request Rejected

SNOW HILL – A local church’s request for additional lighting from the county will not be granted.

The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday reviewed a request from Bowen United Methodist Church for an additional street light on Mill Street. Though Commissioner Ted Elder made a motion to move forward with installing a light, it failed with a 3-3 vote. Several commissioners expressed concern over the fact granting this request could lead to other similar requests.

“If they need a light they certainly have room to put one on their property,” Commissioner Jim Bunting said.

Public Works Director John Tustin told the commissioners Bowen United Methodist Church had asked that a street light be installed on Mill Street because some congregation members felt the area was dark and dangerous at night. Tustin said there was currently a street light at the intersection of Mill Street and Newark Road. He said options for the county were denying the request and encouraging the church to install its own light or installing a light on a pole on Mill Street at a cost of about $20 a month.

He pointed out, however, that if that light was installed it would likely distress the residents of a house in close proximity.

“I’d be afraid if we put a light on that pole you’d have some overflow onto that house,” Tustin said.

Elder made a motion to install the light.

“It’s a dark town at that area,” he said.

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked whether the county would set a precedent if it installed a light at the church’s request.

“I don’t mean to seem cold hearted but it’s not our responsibility to do this,” he said.

Tustin said that the county had installed street lights in West Ocean City for public safety. When asked again if granting the church’s request would set a precedent, he said he believed it would.

Elder objected.

“The street lights were put in at West Ocean City,” he said. “I think the citizens of Newark have the same rights as the people in West Ocean City.”

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic pointed out the church already had a pole on its property where a security light could be installed. He added that he was concerned about the impact a county light would have on the nearby house.

“It’s going to be shining right in their front windows then we’re going to get complaints from them …,” he said.

Commissioners Elder, Nordstrom and Bud Church voted in support while Mitrecic, Bertino and Bunting were opposed. Commissioner Diana Purnell was absent.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.