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Approved noise ordinance change improves evidence of violations

20 February 2013 No Comment

By AMBER SOUTH
@ShipNewsGirl

SHIPPENSBURG — Shippensburg Borough Council voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve an amendment that tightens up language in the noise ordinance and improves evidence of violations.

Council member Steve Brenize cast the dissenting vote to stay in line with his vote on Feb. 5 against advertising the amendment.

The amendment includes a more concrete explanation of what constitutes a noise ordinance violation. It keeps most of the language the same, but uses the phrase, “a noise that can be heard,” to clarify how loud a noise can be to violate the ordinance.

The amendment also cuts the minimum fine in half, to $25.

Council’s approval gives closure to an issue that arose early last summer with disagreement between Police Chief Fred Scott and Magisterial District Justice H. Anthony Adams over the fine structure.

In January, Scott told council that the ordinance’s loose language made it difficult both for police to enforce it and for Adams to hand down guilty verdicts. He presented council with proposed changes Adams developed, and requested they be used to amend the ordinance.

Requests to Scott and Adams for comment Wednesday afternoon were not immediately returned.

Approved amendments to the ordinance, “Noise”:
Section 105-3 B (1) (a) now reads: At any time in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance across a property or boundary line, or between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. a noise that can be heard across a property line.
Section 105-3 B (1) (b) now reads: In such a manner as to create a noise disturbance across a property or boundary line, or a noise that can be heard at a distance of 50 feet from such device, when the device is operated in or on a motor vehicle or hand carried on a public right-of-way or public space.

In other business, council voted 6-0 to add a new chapter to the borough code specifically on outdoor burning. Rules on outdoor burning had been included in the code’s chapter on garbage, rubbish, refuse and recycling.

The big change that comes with Chapter 109 is permission for borough residents to use chimineas and other factory-built novelty stoves on their properties. The code has never allowed for the use of chimineas, and it was rewritten in 1999 to specifically exclude them.

Council also voted to advertise an amendment to the vehicles and traffic ordinance that alters no-parking zones on East Fort Street. The decision was the result of complaints the borough received from drivers of garbage trucks and snow plows who said the space is too tight, Borough Manager Earl Parshall said.

Also, right now the ordinance and actual location of no-parking zones do not match; the change will fix the problem, Parshall said.

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Amber South can be reached at asouth@publicopinionnews.com and 262-4771.

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