Survey says minority of Zerbe residents bothered by ATV noise Township supervisors disagree with Reading's findings
Note: Story has been updated to clarify the quote about Coal Hill.
TREVORTON - Reading Anthracite Company found that only a minority of Zerbe Township residents are bothered by the dust and noise kicked up by ATV riders.
Richard Morgan, security manager for Reading Anthracite Company, presented this information to the Zerbe Township supervisors at Monday night's meeting.
"The (company) owners are saying they're not seeing the people they spoke to saying ... the Coal Hill area (is) a problem," said Morgan.
The supervisors were quick to disagree with Reading's findings. Supervisor Mike Schwartz requested a copy of Reading's data.
Morgan was in attendance at the meeting to present the findings as well as request support from local police in enforcing permits.
According to Morgan, last year a security team occasionally patrolled Reading's property in Zerbe Township but only handed out warnings. He said that the warnings were because he wanted to act friendly to the riding community, and because he had no authority in issuing citations.
Morgan believes only 10 percent of riders on Reading's property have valid permits.
Supervisor Gene Geise believed the illegal riders were a major contributor to other problems occurring on Reading's property in Zerbe Township, including illegal drug use and garbage dumping.
"I think if you enforced your own permits that would cut that a lot," said Geise.
"There's not a damn thing I can do because I have no enforcement power," said Morgan. "Nothing would make me happier than to catch someone dumping on the flats."
Morgan said he thought Reading and the local police could mutually benefit from an arrangement in which an ATV theft ring would be investigated by checking the vehicle identification numbers on ATVs ridden by illegal riders. In exchange, Reading would cite riders without permits for trespassing.
Schwartz believes Reading needs to take more drastic measures to curb rogue ATV riders.
"I think shutting down Coal Hill is the answer," said Schwartz.
Zerbe Township Police Chief Robert John asked if Reading could provide a separate permit to the Reading property in Zerbe Township. Morgan said he would take that suggestion back to Reading management.
Morgan provided his office number for complaints about ATV riders, but told supervisors that a petition signed by local residents would carry more weight.
The supervisors were interested in circulating a petition, and one resident in attendance offered to be the first signature.
Schwartz suggested that Morgan and his team visit Zerbe Township on a Saturday morning to see the dust for themselves. He recommended that Morgan visit on Memorial Day weekend or the following Saturday, and Morgan said that he is inclined to take Schwartz up on the offer.
Morgan said he would post signs delineating Reading's land and rules shortly before his team would arrive, but could not do so yet because the illegal ATV riders have removed his signs in the past and he needed the signs visible during the patrol.
Supervisor Mike Mazer strongly emphasized his belief that Reading was not doing its part in managing the problems created by the ATV riders.
"You're taking that money for that permit and that money should be going back into security," said Mazer.
In other business:
- Supervisors approved $1,531.40 to TDS Telecom to move a pole. A previous estimate of $15,000 to move the pole had been opposed, and the supervisors felt the long-term benefit of allowing the control room footer to be moved outweighed the new, smaller cost.
- An additional 42 inches of excavation needed to be completed for the new sewer because geotechnicians found stability issues. Supervisors are awaiting an invoice for the additional work, which is estimated to be around $50,000.
- Residents were reminded that Northumberland County has consolidated polling locations, and now the only polling location in Zerbe Township is at the American Legion.
- A request by Ellen Flamini, of 1147 W. Shamokin St., for sewer exoneration was approved. The building has been unoccupied for a significant period of time.
- A Flygt pump from OPSCO Service Inc., at a cost of $7,987, was approved for purchase. The pump is needed for the current sewer system until the new sewer system is finished.
- A payment to Walabax Construction Service Inc., for $132,404.40 was approved. This is the second payment required for excavation of the new sewer system.
- TAA little league baseball's use of four picnic tables on April 26 was ratified.
- A request from Trevorton Ambulance to use six picnic tables May 24 was approved. In an update on the building's status, Geise said an open house of the new ambulance building would be held this day.
- LMES second, third and fourth grades were given permission to use the foundry complex for picnics June 3, May 16 and May 29, respectively.
- The electrical panel in the old pool building at the Foundry needs electrical wiring updated from three-phase to single-phase because of the newly erected poles. A motion was passed to obtain at least three estimates to change the panel.
- Purchasing materials to replace three rusting doors and board up another at the Foundry was approved. Supervisors also approved the use of in-house labor to complete the work.
- A report was given of the annual cleanup performed by the Line Mountain Junior-Senior High School National Honor Society. Mazer reported that 13 girls and one boy, as well as two advisors, gathered 41 bags of trash and 26 tires. They also replaced and painted boards on bleachers, and painted picnic tables and graffiti-covered building walls at the foundry.
- Penn Line will be trimming trees for PPL beginning in late May. A deal was struck to allow parking of Penn Line trucks on township property in exchange for the removal of a tree. The trimming is at no cost to residents.
- A brief discussion on the priority road improvements was held. Geise suggested the recreation area as a priority due to its high traffic volume.
- Jerry Bulchie was recognized for his 30 years of dedicated service to Zerbe Township. He began work May 8, 1984.