Municipal Report: Gun issue brings full house to West Nantmeal

In addressing the overflowing audience at the July 8 West Nantmeal Township meeting, Chairman Gary Elston said the shooting noise issue has been resolved.

“Most of you are here about the concern of noise that has been a concern for the last six months,” Elston said. “ Dave met with Mr. Fantanarosa and Tom Marks.”

Mast said they came to a gentleman’s agreement on the duration of shooting. It will be for an hour once a month.

It is an agreement between Fantanarora and Marks, said Elston. It is not a township agreement.

The dispute arose when Marks and several neighbors began to complain about the noise of Fantanarosa shooting his guns at targets on his property. They said the noise had become more frequent lately and claimed it violated the township’s noise ordinance. Fantanarosa owns 41 acres along Bollinger Road.

Decibel readings on the property found that the shooting did violate the noise ordinance, and the board of supervisors considered exempting gunfire from the ordinance.

The board of supervisors has decided to leave the ordinance as it stands. If someone has a problem, they can contact the zoning officer at Yerkes, who will get an appropriate reading at the property line. The zoning officer gives a one-time verbal warning. The second violation will result in a citation to the one creating the nuisance. He is at the township building on Wednesdays. Exemptions to the noise ordinance are hunting and dispatching rodents.

In the future the board will conduct sound testing around the township with various guns and calibers, and amend the rules on shooting and noise. The board will consider topography, hills and vegetation and try to discern how noise carries with some flexibility.

They will study the standards to determine where decibel levels are fair.

Elston thanked Fantanarosa and Marks for working out an agreement with fairly sensible terms.

Resident David Colpac said he wanted to thank the supervisors for their concern on controlling noise. He is also concerned about safety and asked about regulations at private shooting ranges.

Everyone is responsible for their safety, said Elston. At this time there are no township regulations.

Colpac asked if there was a place he could go to find more information on safety. Mast said some states have guidelines on safety.

He said avid shooters should well know what a safe range consists of. He saw Fantanarosa’s range from the road and said it is well constructed.

Solicitor Kristin Camp said when the board has enough information it will hold a public meeting about possible amendments to the noise ordinance. Anyone with helpful information is asked to contact the township office.

She emphasized that shooting pests and hunting is exempt. Sounds of 20 decibels over the ambient sound level are a concern. The board will consider decibels and frequency of shooting.

In other business, Ward said the West Nantmeal Historical Society is planning an Octoberfest at Wyebrook Farms. The intention is to help raise funds to fix the historic stone walls near St. Mary of Providence.

Stone wall repair workshops are planned for Sept. 21 and Oct. 24. The cost is $50. More information will be available on a website that will be created for the project. Wise Preservation will look into obtaining grants.

Emergency Management Coordinator Barclay Hargreaves said there were many weather related problems in June. A possible tornado may have affected the area of Stetson Drive. He gave out emergency preparedness packets at Elverson Day on June 22. There will be a summit of police, fire police, school personnel, legislators and emergency personnel at the Twin Valley Fire House in the fall. It will involve Lancaster, Chester and Berks Counties.