People upset by alleged loud noise and perceived threats from a gun shop, and a couple distressed by the township’s tree trimming voiced their concerns at the Franklin Township supervisors’ meeting Thursday.
Two neighbors of the L&L enterprise at 4246 Chambersburg Road (U.S. Route 30), complained about shooting activity at the premises.
While the business’s sign describes it as a lawnmower and small engine repair shop, it is also a gun shop selling a range of weapons.
The neighbors’ concerns include the frequency of shooting noise they claim interrupts even indoor conversations, and safety for residents and visitors.
L&L owner Bill Lumpkin said weapons he repairs or acquires must be test fired prior to being sold.
“At my house, we can’t even hold a conversation when the shooting is going on,” one of the complainants who did not provide a name claimed.
Another unnamed neighbor alleged shots are fired in the direction of homes, and pose a threat if children are wandering around in the area.
Lumpkin said he exercises caution and does not endanger others.
Supervisor Chair Christopher Santay suggested Lumpkin meet with neighbors to negotiate mutually agreeable limited hours for test firing.
“Any kind of civil agreement you can come up with will go a long way,” he said.
In further discussion, the supervisors were advised zoning ordinances guarantee residents freedom from unreasonable noise levels or hazards posed by neighbors. Neither the definition for unreasonable noise compared to noise associated with normal business operations, nor alleged hazards was defined. Supervisors also wondered if Lumpkin’s business license, while allowing gun sales, grants the right for a shooting range. They did not define whether the site is an actual shooting range, or merely a target for tests fires.
The matter was referred to the township’s zoning officer and solicitor for further study.
During public comments, Mountain Top Drive homeowners Lynne and Bennett Peters expressed their frustration at recent tree-trimming in the township’s right-of-way adjoining their property.
The Peters said when they returned from vacation, they were distressed to see what Ben described as trimming done “needlessly, shoddily, and without rhyme or reason.”
“We wouldn’t call it trimming,” Lynne said. “It was more like devastation of our trees.”
The Peters said township residents should be notified in advance so they are available to offer direction to township employees as work is conducted.
Santay and Franklin’s road crew foreman, Curtis MacBeth, explained trees are trimmed in areas where they shade roads and impede thawing during winter snow and ice conditions.
“You gotta pipe sunlight into that side of the mountain,” Santay said as he described the need to hasten winter road thawing for safety reasons.
Santay however reassured the Peters the township is willing to talk with residents who feel its services can be improved.
“If your neighbors want to come in, we’ll talk with them, too. We’re here for you,” he said.
The supervisors conducted a mid-year review of the township budget, which remains on target despite fuel and other cost increases.
Referring to economic uncertainties, Santay said several times during the meeting, “We’re living in strange times.” Nevertheless, referring to the township’s fiscal state, he said, “It could be a lot worse.”
The three supervisors agreed in principle to spend the bulk of the remaining $491,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to purchase two replacement dump trucks, which also serve as snowplows. Delivery is likely to be delayed until some time in 2023.
Based upon recommendations from the three fire companies that serve Franklin, and Adams County’s Geographic Information System expert Bradley Kommeth, they approved minor adjustments to fire response territories.
“This has been a trouble-free process countywide,” Kommeth said of redrawing lines of primary responsibility for fire calls.
The supervisors held a conversation with Columbia Gas Company representatives about its plans to replace service pipes along a portion of Old Route 30. As work on the project draws closer, Franklin officials will ensure the roadway is left in good condition after the gas company’s installations.
Approving a revised pandemic policy, the supervisors will continue allowing township employees to take time off for recovery from COVID-19. But staff will have to use sick leave or personal time for days missed.
The supervisors are scheduled to meet next on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. at the township office