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DuBois citizens have concerns about noise ordinance
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
By Ian Erickson Staff Writer
DUBOIS - DuBois City Council, at last night's meeting, heard from residents who expressed their concerns about the possible noise ordinance for the City of DuBois.
Ken Kepple, owner of East Side Sports Bar, said his business is looking for fair guidelines. "Our proposal is to bring in a decibel meter so everybody can be on the same playing field," said Kepple. "You can't have a loud noise like a band down the road, and not even a squeak up the road."
Kepple said he wants the ordinance to be fair for businesses along with the people in the community. He noted that with the way current ordinances are written, many larger cities in Pennsylvania have enacted a noise ordinance and/or entertainment zone. If noise is over the decibel level, offenders would be fined and DuBois would receive the money (if voted on by council). He added that the city can gain revenue from this.
"We would also be willing, as the bars and clubs in this area, to come up and help support, even buy the decibel meter for the city," Kepple said. He thinks having the meter would make it fair for everyone.
Jeff Vicklund of Shaffer Avenue told council he has been having problems with four wheelers, dirt bikes, etc. (about 10 to 12) next to his property. He said his neighbors work on these and run them all weekend. Vicklund was wondering if the new ordinance would cover issues such as this for houses and businesses.
Tammy Wilson of DuBois Street expressed concern about loud exhausts on vehicles such as diesel trucks. She asked council if the ordinance would also cover this issue.
Kepple told council that an ordinance like Harrisburg has could probably cover the problems DuBois is having with noise complaints. He offered to pass along the contact information so Solicitor Toni Cherry can get in touch with Harrisburg's ordinance writers.
Council motioned to instruct Cherry to proceed with researching and gathering more information on the writing of a noise ordinance for the City of DuBois. She will update council at its next meeting.
Dave Wachob, technology coordinator at Jefferson County-DuBois Area Vocational Technical School and department head of IT Academy, gave a presentation on a new public announcement television channel. Wachob said that he and John "Herm" Suplizio, city manager, decided it was time that DuBois had its own community television station; this project would be an upgrade to the current channel 5, which runs local announcements.
Wachob said, first, the city would have to negotiate with its cable company, Comcast, so its contract will provide a public education or government channel. He noted they hope to one day have both. Comcast would provide approximately $12,400 to the city for purchasing equipment and getting the channel started. Wachob added that if the city needs help managing the station, Jeff Tech and IT Academy would probably be able to assist.
The new station would be able to provide the following: weather, announcements (street closings, etc.), live video, commercials, walking tours of the area, and eventually Wachob hopes to work with DuBois Area School District to broadcast football games and taped band concerts/theater. He also noted that other areas including Sandy Township could have access to this station through their contracts.
Wachob asked council for permission to move forward and activate the clause in the Comcast contract for the channel, and then move forward from there. Council approved moving forward with this project.
"I got to see a live demonstration down at Jeff Tech, which really it is taking us to the next step," said Suplizio. "This will be something very, very nice for our community. It's something that will bring us into the next century."
Suplizio said that residents have approached council about the area where the old Rumbarger Avenue reservoir was located. "We have had people approach us about possibly building houses on that property," said Suplizio. He asked council for permission to hand this request to Cherry, who will then turn it over to the planning commission.
Council motioned to have Cherry pass along the request.
A vote on a watershed recommendation was scheduled, but Dianne Bernardo, councilwoman, said this meeting wasn't the appropriate time. She said there was a special meeting Friday, but thinks that isn't enough time for council to review and prepare questions.
"We're being asked to vote on something I've just seen within the last few minutes," said Bernardo. "I'm asking to delay the vote until all questions are answered, and they won't be answered just tonight." Bernardo said this vote is very important because it deals with seismic testing on the watershed.
Councilman Randy Schmidt motioned to table the vote until the next meeting.

In other business, council:
• approved advertising for line painting. Suplizio said they are trying to advertise for bids earlier and will hopefully be ready for springtime or early summer.
• approved advertising for bituminous patching. Suplizio noted this is for when there is a water break or something of that nature.
DuBois City Council will hold a work session on March 7 at 4 p.m. and its next regular meeting will be held on March 11 at 7 p.m.
Both meetings will be held at the city building in DuBois.

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