Charles Strauss is resigning from the Gettysburg Borough Council effective July 15 citing a move from Ward 3.
Strauss, who took office at the beginning of 2018, will remain on the borough’s planning commission, he said.
By state law, it will be up to the council to appoint a successor by resolution within 30 days. Anyone who has lived in Ward 3 for at least a year is eligible.
Strauss said he has not suggested a successor, but hopes “somebody steps up” who will help create “a council that looks more like Gettysburg.”
He also noted one of two women on the seven-member council, President Susan Naugle, is not seeking re-election.
County Elections and Voters Registration Director Angie Crouse said she will research whether the vacated seat should be included in November’s already planned municipal election. She will also confer with the county’s attorney, she said .
“Leaving is not what I expected to be doing” Strauss said of when he ran for the seat.
Strauss and his wife, who have been renting a house, searched for a new home to purchase for themselves and their children in the ward, but were unable to find what they needed.
A run for council again from the new location is a possibility, he said.
“I feel like I just got started with this group that works so well together,” said Strauss, a Democrat.
Accomplishments during Strauss’s tenure include zoning ordinances changes that reduce the amount of parking business owners must provide, he said.
“Ideally, that will mean we have higher-density development with more infill and fewer parking lots,” he said.
As a planning commission member, Strauss said he hopes to continue refining the zoning ordinance, perhaps toward a model based less on determining what uses are allowed for a particular site and more on the type of building involved and the streetscape near it.
As a council member, Strauss was in the minority who favored a smaller increase in allowable building heights on the vacant lot downtown next to the Racehorse Alley parking garage, but said he is proud that members’ civil disagreement did not “stall” action on other topics such as hiring a police chief.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be on this council,” where “we respected each other’s opinions even when we disagreed,” he said.
Most surprising to Strauss, who had not held elected office before, was how often members of the public contacted him.
“It was difficult to stay on top” of the daily emails and calls received “on a range of matters,” he said.
As an example of the public’s continuing interest in borough affairs, Strauss pointed to the weekly “office hours” he conducted beginning early this year at the Adams County Public Library. At least “a couple” of members of the public attended virtually every session, he said.
Strauss is a history professor at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.