The Berks-Mont News (

Municipal Report: Noise from gun club irks some Union residents

By Tory Lingg, For 21st Century Media

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Concerns about the noise from firearms have now spread to Union Township.
A complaint has been lodged about noise from target shooting at the South Birdsboro Gun Club, said Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Basile. Until recently, there hadn’t been a problem.
The board has to weigh the right to shoot and the neighbors’ right to quiet, he said. There is some talk about firearms being exempt. The board could use a decibel meter to gauge the sound at the property line, he said. The sound has to be under 80 decibels at the property line, according to the noise ordinance.
There are Second Amendment rights, said Supervisor Nelson Ott, and so the noise is a gray area. The gun club was there before the neighbors, he added.
Township Attorney Fred Hatt said it is enforceable. The noise meters are calibrated and checked. The concern could be addressed by the magistrate, he said. It does get expensive, he added. The noise meter has to be sent to the location to determine if there is a problem, and if there is a problem the authorities must prosecute.
All of the streets in Maple Springs will be repaired except Fourth Street. The work will be done between now and August 20 at the latest. The center of the roads will be slightly higher so storm water will run off the road. Improvements will be done in such a way that cars do not bottom out when turning into a driveway.
Ott said it is a challenging process because the roads are worn out. It is very expensive to completely mill a road and fix it. The road crews will do their best to blend the road into the driveways.
It is the best we can do with a bad situation, said Township Engineer Tom Unger.
Unger said looking ahead, the new salt shed will be needed by November. Bond Counselor Paul Lundeen from Rhodes & Simon reviewed financing terms. The board didn’t make a decision at the July 15 meeting, but Basile said a meeting would be held by the first week in August to decide on the terms of the financial agreement.
The supervisors will meet with residents of Hopewell Street before further action is taken in a dispute with Haines & Kibblehouse. There was no one from Hopewell Street at the July 15 meeting. An agreement entered into in 1995 said Haines & Kibblehouse would erect a fence, build a berm and drill wells to monitor the cleanliness of the water.
In a discussion 18 months ago Haines& Kibblehouse wanted to delay the project until the mining operation was closer to Hopewell Street. Ott said they won’t get to Hopewell Street for some time and questioned what good a fence on a hill would do when it might be years before they get there.
The fence is to keep the public out, said Unger. The company plans to cut trees in an area of 50 to 75 feet to build a berm. The fence is for safety and the berm is aesthetic.
Unger said the residents need to come to a township meeting to discuss it.
They just started quarrying in Union Township, said Basile. Haines & Kibblehouse is under a court order to do it.
It is common sense to put up a fence, said Ott. When you are close to the site and look down it is terrifying. Someone could walk off the edge.
Former Supervisor Leslie Rebman agreed. She added that the people from Hopewell Street should be at a meeting to comment. Ott suggested the board send letters to the residents.
Traffic control at the intersection of Riverbridge Road and Route 724 is an important issue when considering additional traffic from Liberty Bell Motor Sports Park, said Basile.
Several months ago, the board had a meeting with its traffic engineer, Unger, representatives from Vistas at Riverside and the developers of the motor sports park about traffic control. Union Township is not to pay the costs of necessary traffic control that will benefit either of the developers, Basile said. The board looked at potential changes needed in the areas of Route 724 in the vicinity of Shed and Red Corner Roads.
“If we don’t get it done now, we won’t get it done,” he said. “We can’t do it six years in the future when people start to complain.”
The improvements of widening the shoulder of Route 724 could cost $300,000.
Ott addressed Dave Kleckner, representing E.M.I. and township Traffic Control Engineer Greg Bogia about their apparent pragmatic view of controlling traffic. Kleckner suggested a flagger to monitor traffic. Alternatives were suggested in place of large scale improvements. Ott said he did not want to see 75 cars jammed up when an emergency vehicle tried to pass. It has to be hashed out by the Planning Commission, he said. Contact will be made with officials from PennDOT for their input.
There is a problem with the intersections and the township has to fix it now, said Basile.