Suburban Condos Will Ban Public Smoking, Drinking
MESQUITE, Texas (AP) _ A developer who describes himself as a born-again Christian is building a condominium complex in which residents will be welcome to smoke and drink, provided they do it behind closed doors.
David Termohlen, a former smoker and drinker, is building what he believes is the first condominium project to prohibit use of cigarettes or alcohol outside the units.
Termohlen said Wednesday that he wanted to eliminate ″wild life″ at the retirement community.
″What it does is discourage people who want to live here who are oldster swingers who want to live the wild life, which we will not put up with,″ he said. ″I just wanted a nice, sensible community.″
Termohlen, 59, who has lived in this Dallas suburb for six months, said he has collected security deposits on about half the 267 units so far - even though a model unit will not be completed until March 21.
The units sell for $55,000 to $131,000.
″There’s a great demand for something like this,″ he said. ″We’ve had seminars with the buyers already, and they think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.″
The provision against smoking and drinking outside the units will be included in the deed restrictions and will be enforced by members of a homeowners association, Termohlen said.
″One reason is because of health,″ he said. ″The second is morality. People who do not smoke or drink probably are of a higher moral level, in our opinion.″
Termohlen, who owns Texas Realty Development in Dallas, originally had planned to restrict the project to ″born-again Christians.″ But he encountered opposition from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, which said such a restriction was illegal.
Now, Termohlen said the condominiums are available to anyone, although he said he expected that most people who moved there would have a ″religious persuasion.″
″If an atheist wanted to come in and buy one, I wouldn’t care about stopping them,″ he said. ″But I assume it’s going to be a community of people who really have some belief of some kind.″
Mark Briskman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he does not object to the anti-smoking and drinking provisions. But he said that if any qualified person is denied the opportunity to buy a condominium there because of his religion, the Anti-Defamation League would take action.
″It will be interesting to see if any problems develop,″ Briskman said.