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Not so sound: Stoudtburg residents bring noise concerns to Adamstown meeting
Residents concerned with noise issues in Stoudtburg Village sounded off at the March 7 meeting of Adamstown Borough Council.
Samuel Sherman, a resident of Stoudtburg Village, complained about the noise level in the village from parties and entertainment. Accompanying him for support was Kim Proud of the Cocalico Area Republican Committee.
Six Stoudtburg residents were present. Some shared Sherman’s concern while others countered him.
Sherman explained the effects of higher decibels on hearing. He read from example ordinances.
“This is to add to our quality of life,” said Sherman. “We are so close together that sometimes the concerts and things of that nature can drive us out. I was actually told that if I didn’t like it, I should leave.”
Sherman was hoping residents would be fined for not following ordinances already in place. He said some were rental tenants.
“In Denver, they actually talk about decibels and theirs is not over 70,” said Sherman. “We have a decibel meter. We don’t want to call the police just to be a pain in the neck.”
Council Vice President Dave Matz asked about the nature of complaint.
“It (concerts) was created by one business (Plum Pudding Antiques) and on occasions it’s been terribly, terribly loud, I mean excessively loud,” said Sherman.
“How do we deal with it if there’s no ordinance? And this is amplified music.”
“Within the laws of your homeowner’s association, can’t you regulate the businesses?” asked Matz.
Councilwoman Cindy Schweitzer asked who controls the use of the plaza.
“Our board of directors,” said Glenda Poole.
Tom Aylmer, another Stoudtburg resident, said events end by 10 p.m.
“Most of the villagers support it, especially those who have businesses in the village,” said Aylmer. “Anyone who purchases in the village understands. They are given a copy of the bylaws and they understand that buying into a mixed-use community where there will be some activities, it’s known when you buy.”
Susan Hess also visited and gave her opinion.
“We don’t, other than public disturbances, really have a recourse in a noise ordinance,” said Hess.
Councilman Mike Wetherhold asked how many concerts, incidences, there are a year and if they’ve all been a problem.
Different answers were heard from three or four a year to six or eight a year to one a month.
“They are not all a problem,” admitted Sherman. “Some concerts are really bad. I don’t know why I have to leave my home for an afternoon or evening, just tone it down a little is a reasonable request.”
Poole said the time limit for concerts is “nine or nine-thirty at night.”
Discussion continued amongst residents at the meeting.
Christine Hobson was concerned about children in the village.
“We do have a real problem if we want to watch TV,” said Hobson. “We have to turn up the sound three or four times to what it generally is. If we wanted to call the police or 9-1-1, we’d have to yell into the phone — with all the windows closed. It is a real, real serious problem. The people that live right there are not being respected or heard. I would like to enjoy my peace and quiet within reason.”
Folks agreeing with Sherman said they were interested in adopting an ordinance “similar to what Ephrata and Denver have.”
Matz asked Ephrata Police Sgt. Matt Randolf about what his force does in these circumstances.
“It is generally what is reasonable for the location and the time of day,” said Randolf. “We don’t write that many citations, usually it’s more loud parties.”
The issue was given to the community committee.
“Decimals are extremely hard to enforce,” said Council President Randy Good. “They constantly have to be calibrated.”
Good urged the residents at Stoudtburg to get together and solve it.
“I don’t think government interference is going to solve the issue,” said Good.
John Schmidt, president of the property homeowner’s association in the village, agreed.
“I think a lot of people, not just Stoudtburg Village residents, but people in the community enjoy our parties on the plaza, but I can absolutely respect the concerns of the noise level, so I think we can get a committee together to take care of it,” he said.
Alyssa Raven and Justin Baas visited from the Adamstown YMCA.
Baas reported that the YMCA is officially a ‘Star Three’ on environmental scale.
“It really is just a sticker on a quality program that was already started, but now we have the name,” said Baas. “What comes with that is increased grant monies.”
“We are the first and only childcare center in the Reading/Berks YMCA association to be a Star Three, which is really big news and exciting,” said Baas.
The Y is now offering pickup basketball on Saturdays, and has hired a new personal trainer for its members.
Raven mentioned some changes and additions for the Adamstown Community pool this season.
“We’re going to have 100 percent coverage of the baby pool and the slide when the pool is open,” said Raven. “We’re also going to have morning and evening aqua fitness classes. We’re not sure if we’re going to have ZUMBA or a general aqua class.”
The Y will also offer, for the first time, private swim lessons for the first time this summer.
The Y is currently hiring for this coming season.
Sandra Burns was the last visitor to speak to council, representing a new group called, The Adamstown Friends, which promotes Adamstown being a friendly place to live.
“One of the things that has been missing since we lost The Grapevine is that connection to the community and community events,” said Burns. “Being in the computer age, we decided to start a Facebook social media page called The Adamstown Friends. It’s specifically for the residents of Adamstown.”