East Penn Press

Thursday, April 26, 2018

ALBURTIS BOROUGH COUNCIL

Thursday, August 3, 2017 by CHRISTOPHER DRYFOOS Special to The Press in Local News

Trucking congestion steers discussion

Alburtis Borough Council members addressed the concerns of both its citizens and its police chief during its meeting July 26.

Alburtis’ Chief of Police Robert Palmer gave a presentation regarding the force’s efforts to curb the increased presence of trailers. Due to local warehousing developments around the area, tractor trailers are visiting the town much more frequently. Officers on the force have devoted over 300 hours in 2017 to dealing with truck matters, notably hearings for citations. Most of the truckers who are cited never actually appear in person; rather, local lawyers representing the trucking companies try to renegotiate the citations so points aren’t added to their commercial driver’s licenses. So far, $22,000 has been brought into the borough this year from these citations. The police force distributed over 130 citations in July alone.

“It’s crazy, to be blunt,” Palmer said. “I’ve wrote more tickets in the last couple of months than I probably did in eight years in my uniform in Allentown.”

Palmer points to the increased reliance in GPS navigation which continuously routes truckers through the town, despite state regulated signs discouraging it. Companies with their own GPS systems routing their drivers through Alburtis have also been cited.

“I’d rather have no tickets and no trucks,” Palmer said. “It gets tough just giving people tickets all day long. You’re making people’s lives miserable all day long.”

Council President Ron DeIaco praised Palmer’s efforts to curb the traffic, which is expected to increase.

“He and his team are providing a great service to the borough,” DeIaco said. “And it’s a pain in the neck, and I know it, but we thank you for what you do.”

The borough also addressed two citizen’s comments.

Resident Kaitlin Hummel provided council with an update regarding a situation with her neighbor’s chicken coop. Hummel and her family received negative comments about the chicken coop smell from both visiting friends and a Realtor, who mentioned it could hurt their property’s resale value.

DeIaco mentioned he and Borough Manager Sharon Trexler had visited the property recently, but the smell was faint. DeIaco gave Hummel his cell phone number and asked her to contact him the next time the smell was prevalent.

“When you get home, if it’s bad, call us and one or both of us will come down,” DeIaco said.

Another citizen, Derek Beitler, relayed his concern about a small driveway he and his neighbor share. The driveway is being used as an alley by other citizens, who are using it as a shortcut. Beitler asked council to notify his neighbors by a letter to not use the driveway.

Borough Solicitor David Knerr discouraged the notion.

“We try not to get involved in [these situations] because that’s really not our role to get involved in private property disputes among residents,” Knerr said.

After discussing several possible solutions, council came to an agreement.

“I think [putting up] a sign that says ‘private drive’ or ‘no access’ would be very helpful,” DeIaco said.

Knerr concurred with DeIaco and added blocking the road would help deter others from using it.

In other news, the Emmaus Rotary seeks to plant trees in the East Penn area, including Alburtis, as part of an initiative by Rotary International. The trees will be supplied by the rotary club. DeIaco encouraged council to seek out possible locations for trees and bring their ideas in for discussion.

Council also provided an update on its recent meeting with members of Preservation PA. Preservation PA assigns historic designations for sites in Pennsylvania. Members of council gave representatives from the organization a tour of Alburtis which was well received. A formal nomination by Preservation PA and a public meeting in Alburtis, are still needed.

In other police business, part-time Officer Alex Smith took a full-time position in Muhlenberg and Sgt. Jay Ruff will retire from the police force after 43 years Sept. 1.