West Cocalico hears railroad crossing complaints

By on June 28, 2019

Supervisors heard from residents in their meeting June 18 about a railroad crossing at Galen Hall Road and rRoute 897 that has “come unglued” more than once.

“The railroad tracks are really looking shabby,” said resident Lori Berger. “It’s getting wicked again.”
Last year, supervisors chair James Stoner, who was absent Tuesday, had voiced concerns about danger for motorcyclists. Since then, the crossing has been repaired at least once by the railroad, but is apparently not in great condition right now.

In comments June 25, Hildebrand said she has reached out to P.A. Department of Transportation to make them aware of resident complaints, since Galen Hall Road is a PADOT road.

Supervisors also pondered a large volume of complains about fireworks in the township, and continued a discussion spilling over from their June 6 meeting in which Ephrata Police Lt. Tom Shumaker addressed fireworks concerns brought by residents (see last week’s Ephrata Review coverage).

“It’s all over the township,” West Cocalico manager Carolyn Hildebrand told the reduced board, vice chair Leon Eby and member at large Jeff Sauder. Hildebrand said residents complain of aerial fireworks like “mortar rounds” exploding above homes.

Josele Cleary, the township’s solicitor, Hildebrand said, has advised that the best way to handle these issues is with a noise ordinance. While township officials had thought that Ephrata PD would not be able to enforce such an ordinance, they are now suggesting that if the change is done the right way, a noise ordinance stands a chance of reducing bothersome and potentially dangerous firework activity. An existing ordinance limits fireworks to launch sites 150 feet from a residence, but in prior investigations, police found that most of the regular nuisance fireworks were set off in keeping with that limitation.

“I seemed to get the sense from the police department that if they have (a noise ordinance) then they can issue those citations,” Eby said, going over past complaints and stressing the necessity for action. “It’s been pretty wild — it seems almost like we’re forced to do something.”

Sauder said phone calls to the township about fireworks have quadrupled over the past year.
Hildebrand said there should be something for the board to look at in their July meeting.
Justin Stoltzfus is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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