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ATV dispute triggers draft noise ordinance in Newberry Twp.

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
In this May 10, 2014, file photo, people ride ATV's into Recapture Canyon north of Blanding, Utah, in a protest against what demonstrators called the federal government's overreaching control of public lands. (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File)

Newberry Township officials are considering a noise ordinance following complaints from frustrated residents about all-terrain vehicles and a request from the police chief.

The proposed ordinance would address "noise disturbances of all kinds," and not just ATVs, officials have said.

"The noise ordinance is basically for enforcement when noise is excessive to surrounding residents, but especially between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.," said Newberry Township Manager Tony Miller via email. "Without an ordinance, the police department can do little when called for a noise disturbance issue."

Newberry Township residents Roseanna Behr and Judith Richard have said neighbors are riding ATVs constantly and the noise is too much. 

In a letter to the township earlier this year, Behr said she called Newberry Township Police for a noise complaint in March after her neighbor had been riding a four-wheeler for six hours, but she was told the complaint couldn't be filed since there was no ordinance to enforce.

"They ride daily since, and it has taken this quiet, suburban neighborhood ... to a speedway," the letter addressing the board reads.

The proposed ordinance also follows a request by Newberry Township Police Chief Steven Lutz seeking a noise ordinance, state meeting minutes for the township's board.

The proposed noise ordinance resurfaced Tuesday at the township's Board of Supervisors meeting, but it was tabled for a second time.

The board wanted to take up the issue only after in-person meetings had reconvened so the public could attend and comment on the proposal, Miller said.

Supervisors briefly discussed the first draft of the ordinance Tuesday.

"From what I see is going on here is that a few people have some issues, I don't want to punish anybody in the township for a few people who have an issue that maybe can be taken care of another way," Supervisor Clair Wintermyer said.

Supervisor Brandt Cook said the ordinance could "open a can of worms" and create tension between neighbors calling the Newberry Township Police Department for "little disputes." 

Earlier this year, Supervisor Maxine Kauffman questioned how different levels of noise would be determined and what would be considered excessive and loud.

Supervisors agreed to hold off on further discussion of the ordinance until board meetings could be open to the public in person, though they did not specify when.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.