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Tinicum noise ordinance easier said than done


Residents of Tinicum Township, who hoped to find relief in their township noise ordinance from target shooting disturbances from their neighbors, will be disappointed, at least for the time being.

The ordinance as presently written has a half-hour time limit on the activity as the only restriction.

The matter was brought up by Township Manager Teri Lewis at the June 4 public meeting of the board of supervisors, noting she had received several such complaints.

Solicitor Stephen Harris said that in particular, the question of the application of decibel limits, used to govern other noise disturbances, was presently ruled out for target shooting, with only the length of time factor in place. He added that “reasonable additional restrictions, such as related to property size and the use of backstops,” could be considered.

During discussion, a resident added a story of a nighttime dog walker being frightened by hearing gunshots after dark, and questioned if a time-of-day restriction might be possible.

Police Chief Matt Phelan noted that his officer Mark Compas was a SWAT member and a firearms instructor, and that he had been dispatched on at least one occasion to discuss a complaint with a target shooter, ending with the idea that the way he was going about it might constitute reckless endangerment under the crimes code.

“We certainly want to try to avoid getting to that point, and to find some middle ground instead,” Phelan said. “We’d like to see at least an informal understanding that no rounds should leave the shooter’s property, as part of rounds accountability, and that people are safe.”

Also at the June 4 meeting, officials discussed bidding for the construction of a 2,000-2,100-foot walking path for the new township park, which is now in the construction stage in Ottsville off Route 611.

Sufficient path substrate is questionable in certain areas, leading to uncertainty about accepting bids that might not cover extra substrate work.

In-kind services toward the problem from the township might help in meeting matching grant requirements for funding. The grants, from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the state Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, are now in place, a key element in allowing construction of the park as a whole to move forward.