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Copyright 2013 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Intelligencer Journal/New Era (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
November 5, 2013 Tuesday
B; Pg. 5
599 words
Mountville Discusses Ballfield Noise Concern
Dean Lee Evans Correspondent
Lancaster, PA



Who doesn't love the sights and sounds of a good baseball game? Apparently, those living near the ballfield, that's who.

Mountville councilman Francis Zimmer, who chairs the borough's safety committee, said Oct. 28 that the borough received an anonymous complaint from a resident near Froelich Park about "noise" coming from the area.

Zimmer was dismayed that the resident did not identify himself in the complaint or attend a borough meeting to air the complaint directly.

He said that would have been "the appropriate thing to do."

Zimmer said the complaint stems from loud music and loud broadcasting of the Mountville Youth Athletic Association baseball games.

And it's not the first complaint the borough has received about the volume of noise during youth games at the field.

West Hempfield police Chief Mark Pugliese, whose department patrols the borough, said at the meeting that he went past the park during a youth game one evening and "barely heard noise."

Pugliese acknowledged he was in his vehicle at the time. But he said there was little his officers could do about noise from the games anyway.

"The borough does not have a noise ordinance," he said.

Councilman Harry Morgan said he believes the athletic association did take appropriate steps to address prior complaints.

"(The association) promised to turn down the music," he said following discussion about the volume of music and announcements during games.

"They also pointed the speakers down towards the ground instead of up in the air," he said.

In addition, the number of speakers used on the field was reduced from six to four, and the volume was reduced by half.

"I sympathize with the individual," Morgan said. "I can hear the (Hempfield) high school (games) from my home in Summit Hills."

But Morgan was also sympathetic to the youth association.

"It is a youth team," he said. "The MYAA is fortunate to have such a facility (at the park.)"

The youth association holds about 18 nighttime baseball games a year at the park, but is more active at the end of the season, with three games in a week.

Council was confident that any noise issue could be easily resolved with a sit-down discussion among the association, police and the borough.

But since the borough does not have a noise ordinance on the books, Zimmer said it might be necessary to "take a hard look" at whether to adopt a noise ordinance next year.

In other business, council briefly discussed its receipt of a contract from the Lancaster SPCA for accepting stray dogs and cats.

"Do we want to go with them or stay with the police?" Zimmer asked.

Currently, West Hempfield Police handle all stray dog issues in the borough.

"There was one stray dog collected in 2013," Pugliese said.

He said his department has three state-approved kennels at the station, along with a scanner to check the dogs for microchips.

Most stray dogs collected by West Hempfield are quickly returned to their owners, and long-term kenneling of a week or more is rare.

Pugliese joked that when stray dogs are placed up for adoption on the department's Facebook page, they tend to receive far more "hits" than do requests for information on criminals.

He added there would be a change in the fees when a dog is put up for adoption.

"The state said that adoptions had to be charged $35 and that we could no longer give the dogs away for free," Pugliese said.

After brief discussion on the matter, council members said they see no reason to change the borough's stray-dog procedures. Council rejected the SPCA offer and opted to continue with the service from the police department.

November 5, 2013

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