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Noise Control Law May Be In Township’s Future

SANATOGA PA – Lower Pottsgrove has for years avoided implementing a law that regulates excessive noise in the township and imposes sanctions on violators. Its officials and solicitors maintained noise control potentially posed too many problems to be effective. Now township Police Chief Michael Foltz has advised them a noise ordinance may soon be a necessity.

Foltz this month told the Board of Commissioners that disorderly conduct charges, brought by township officers against a local property owner whose stereo is allegedly played so loudly it could be heard inside neighbors’ homes, had been dismissed.

A group of residents who live near Ringing Rocks Park made their anger with the racket known to the board last August (2016). Commissioners promised them a prompt solution. Disorderly conduct provisions, the board and Solicitor Charles Garner hoped, might be broad enough to apply to a noise problem. Police monitored the situation, and found the complaints to be valid. They issued warnings to the alleged offender, and then cited him, the chief reported.

The experiment didn’t work, though. The charges were dismissed based on valid and established law, Foltz and the board acknowledged. “So we need a legitimate, enforceable noise ordinance we can all live with,” Foltz urged during the board’s Feb. 6 meeting.

The problem, legal experts say, is that most noise ordinances rely on decibel meters to accurately measure sound levels. Officers must be trained to use the gear, and the law must contain parameters that specify what levels are normal or excessive, how they will be remedied, and what penalties violators face if the noise persists. Even with all the components in place, noise pollution could continue sporadically until police can record it, determine a violation has occurred, and enforce the law, the chief noted.

Garner and Foltz said they are working to write an alternative noise control law, and also are consulting with local judges for suggestions to enhance or clarify it. Commissioners agreed to review a draft with an eye toward future approval.

Commissioners’ Meeting Scheduled For Thursday

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to conduct its second regularly monthly meeting on Thursday (Feb. 23) beginning at 7 p.m. in the township municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd. The meeting is free to attend and open to the public. A copy of the board agenda is already available for download from the township website, here.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 6 meeting):

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