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Residents express ordinance concerns with supervisors

A dozen or so Loyalsock residents came to the township supervisors with concerns about a recurring issue with an ordinance prohibiting campers, tractor trailers, trailers, boats, ATVs and other commercial vehicles on properties for more than 48 hours on Wednesday.

Resident Barbara Kressly presented concerns at a previous meeting, but returned to express further issues after receiving a violation letter from zoning and codes.

“I am here tonight to ask you to reconsider,” she said. “My problem is, the ordinance as it is, is not enforced.”

The ordinance, according to Chairman Marc Sortman, has a set-back of 5 feet behind the front building line of the house for these vehicles. This ordinance also affects more than just campers and trailers, it affects trucks, mobile equipment, tractors, buses, recreational vehicles, according to Solicitor Mike Wiley.

The ordinance was created to solve an issue that previous supervisors were having with these vehicles obstructing vision, being an “eye sore” and other safety issues.

Kressly previously brought in a list of 18 violations she had seen. She brought in additional photos as a list of violations that have not been addressed by zoning and codes.

“I don’t care if people want to put their camper in their driveway,” she said. “I don’t think it interferes with anybody. My camper sits 15 feet from the right of way, it does not obstruct anybody’s vision, I have every neighbor’s signature that they are not opposed.”

She also mentioned the possibility of a seasonal option for those who fish and camp over the summer, allowing these vehicles to be placed in driveways or on the street, without obstructing vision, from April to Oct. for maintenance, use and winterizing.

Bob Stoffregen, resident, added that there should be changes to the ordinance because vehicles like tractor trailers, chip trucks and donut trucks are commercial vehicles used for business and occupational reasons, not for recreational reasons.

“If the ordinance was written in the beginning because trailers and boats and campers were an ‘eye sore’ and you’re talking about tractor trailers, those are commercial vehicles,” he said. “That’s a whole separate thing. There is a difference between commercial vehicles and private recreational vehicles.”

He admitted he was in violation and showed photos of his home with his recreational vehicles.

Other locals agreed with statements about their own experience with this ordinance with their mobile homes, boats or trailers. Many locals admitted they were not in compliance but want a “seasonal” change to this ordinance to make it more accessible for residence and easier to enforce for zoning and codes officers.

“Is there any way that we could look at them seasonally from April until October, where they can sit in their driveway,” Richard Wheeland, supervisor said.

“I said I would like to look at this,” John Bower Jr., supervisor said.

The supervisors agreed to look into the issue and talk to those who agree with the ordinance as written as the township supervisors want to find a compromise that fits for over 11,000 residents.

“We will do our due diligence,” Sortman said. “We do appreciate your input.”

In other business, the supervisors approved a decision to buy a new Caterpillar backhoe for projects with a 3-2 vote, with supervisors Bower and Viriginia Eaton voting “no” and Sortman, Wheeland and Paul Nyman voting “yes.”

The Nittany Oil Co. was unanimously approved for an addition to their building for alcohol use and food use. The company is licensed for alcohol in the state. The addition meets all requirements and was approved pending official comments from the county.

The state Partners in the Arts Grant awarded the township with a grant of $1,042 for the senior and children’s theatre program. The unanimously approved grant and agreement was signed by the chairman.

Lastly, the supervisors unanimously approved the annual 2018 audit of financial statements from the township.

According to Township Manager, Bill Burdett, the township passed with “flying colors.”

The next Loyalsock Township Supervisors meeting will be held on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the township building on East Third Street.

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