BLACK LICK — A tougher noise ordinance passed Wednesday by Burrell Township supervisors is less about silencing the township and more about bringing civility to what local residents should expect to hear day-to-day.
Final deliberation on the ordinance included supervisors’ clarifications of its provisions during a roundtable with nearly a dozen residents in attendance.
The nighttime standards of the past ordinance have been extended to daylight hours.
“There were a few people who called and complained about things during the day and we had nothing about it,” said supervisor John Shields.
The new regulations are six pages long, starting with two pages of definitions and then a litany of what is governed. The supervisors’ signatures go on the seventh page. (The entire order is attached to the digital version of this article on The Indiana Gazette Online.)
The order provides for a fine of $25 to $1,000 upon conviction for violation of its provisions. There is an unwritten provision for wiggle room, however.
“We don’t just fine people,” supervisor Dan Shacreaw told residents. “We go out and talk to them first, then we send them a letter and if they still don’t comply the third time they get fined.”
Some have defended the noise that inevitably accompanies tuning cars for downshift derby competition.
“The definition of ‘excessive’ is different for everyone,” a resident told council. “My son plays derby and I live right next to him. And I work all day so I know very well that I don’t do it during the day.
“In a case like that, it would be someone there going on for half an hour, an hour at a time, disturbing the neighbours, repeated infractions of that. If you’ve never been contacted before, you probably won’t because you have some respect for your neighbors.
“There’s a difference between building a derby car and acting like a jerk,” Shacreaw said. “Rolling a derby car down the driveway and doing burnouts – that’s what pisses off the neighbors. That’s the difference.
The core of the ordinance is Section III, a 49-word passage that summarizes the ban on noise pollution:
“No person shall cause, continue or cause to be made or continue any noise nuisance, nor suffer, permit or permit any noise pollution to be made or continued from or upon any property, real or personal, which is subject to the law of the no one to control.
Supervisors said residents should contact the code enforcement officer or one of the supervisors to register complaints.
In other business at the monthly public board meeting, supervisors:
• Agreed to sell a used Massey Ferguson Model 383 tractor with side deck mower. Sealed offers will be accepted until the next board meeting on September 21.
• Learned that the Burrell Township Library will be partnering with the Indiana County Community Action Program to coordinate a food distribution, rich in children’s lunch foods, from 5 to 8 p.m. September 28. Library director Jen Van Hannak also reported that the library is holding a used book sale from 9 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday at the Corporate Campus Industrial Park Clearinghouse.
• Told residents that the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development would open bids Sept. 14 for contracts to extend the High Ridge Water Authority pipelines to Falling Run and Campbells Mill roads.
• Reported that consulting engineer James Garvin has not completed a review of a building permit application filed in July by Indiana County for the construction of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge on Route 22 from the corporate campus and the PennDOT Park & Ride near the Route 119 interchange.
Supervising President Larry Henry said he was waiting for the engineer’s report at the next meeting and admitted that the plan, finally, might not have any shortcomings.
Supervisors led opposition to the project for more than seven years and twice rejected county applications.
If it complies with the letter of the township’s Subdivision and Development Ordinance (SALDO), supervisors should allow construction to continue — but no more, Henry said.
“If we approve it, it will be just for the bridge. … But they have no way to get to or from the bridge. There is no trail from here to the bridge,” Henry said. “So now the commissioners want to connect it to Pine Ridge Park.
“Rails to trails used to be a good idea, but now the pressure to connect them has been an expensive nightmare.”
County leaders have advocated the bridge project for years as a way to connect the Hoodlebug Trail, Ghost Town Trail, West Penn Trail, and Blairsville River Front Trail, but none of the trails reach any of the approaches to the planned span.
“It’s under review and unfortunately it looks like we’re going to be close to approving it,” Henry told viewers. “We have fought well so far, but our hands are tied. If our engineer says he meets our standards, we’ll give him a letter saying he can build the bridge on his property, but that’s it. We don’t give them permission to do anything on our roads or mark our roads as trails.
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