Event venue

Derry Twp. Supervisors Hear Noise Complaints Regarding New Event Venue | Local News


Supervisors in the Township of Derry heard from township residents on Tuesday looking for a way to turn down the volume at the new outdoor “family entertainment park” near New Derry, which features live music and food trucks on Fridays and Saturday evenings.

Gary and Johanna Sheppard and Gary Gruska complained about excessive noise levels from performances at 501, a new venue just off Pittsburgh Street near Longview Trailer Park.

The 501 opened on June 4, owner Rachele Morelli said, and its hours of operation are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, weather permitting. The open-air space features live music, food and craft vendors, fire pits and outdoor games, according to its Facebook page.

“It’s basically for families to go out and enjoy the evening together,” Morelli said. “… It is a place where the adults can come and sit by a campfire and listen to music and their children are there playing games and running in the park. You cannot not even believe how many kids are up there dancing when the music goes on. It’s just something the whole family can enjoy together. “

Morelli said two scheduled events have been canceled so far this season due to weather, and performers are urged to finish by 10:30 p.m. The last scheduled night of operations for The 501 this season is Oct. 16, according to Morelli.

501 attendees can bring their own beer or wine, but alcohol is prohibited, she said, and visitors are encouraged to patronize the venue’s vendors rather than bringing soft drinks or water. bottled with them.

Supervisors chairman Dave Slifka said Morelli approached township officials earlier this year about his plans for the property, and noted that he had concerns over the use of the location as open-air concert hall.

“We put her through all kinds of hoops, trying to say ‘You have to make sure you’re doing the right things and following whatever is supposed to be done,’” Slifka said. “With the lawyer talking to his lawyer, we had nothing really to stop him… In the future, we will have to look at this in depth. This is the first time that we have something continuous, not just a weekend or something like that. “

Morelli said she was “blinded” to learn of the complaints from Tuesday’s meeting and disappointed to indirectly discover the neighbors’ problem with the noise level, saying she had contacted those who lived in houses surrounding the site. of 2.2 acres before the grand opening and urged them to contact her with any issues or concerns.

Gary Sheppard told supervisors that the sound of one of the performances at 501 was so loud that it covered the sound of his television even with all the windows closed in his Pittsburgh Street home.

“We had no notice, we had no discussion that this was coming into our direct neighborhood,” said Gary Sheppard. “The stage at this place is probably 250 feet from my living room …

“All of a sudden, we have a major nuisance in our front yards which was caused by the municipality’s lack of tools to do rational planning,” he said. “I don’t care what those tools need to be, but the Township of Derry, to protect itself and allow itself to move forward in the way we would all like to live, must start to become more proactive in passing ordinances. or other planning tools. “

Gruska said the volume level varies depending on the performer, with some weekends being louder than others so far.

Gary Sheppard told supervisors that decibel levels recorded outside his home reached 65 to 70 decibels in a recent performance. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, exposure to noise equal to or greater than 85 decibels (comparable to noise levels in city traffic or a school cafeteria) can cause hearing loss.

“We’re not here to attack him,” Gary Sheppard said of Morelli, “but this can’t go on… People can’t make noise like that. If it had been a farmer, I You guaranteed that people would be complaining about the noise level. There is no way your living room would affect what someone is doing on another property next to yours. “

Township attorney Sam Dalfonso said the township’s existing ordinances do not specify allowable noise levels or dictate where in the township outdoor musical performances can take place.

“Rachele certainly went through a lot of hurdles that we had sort of put in place. We made sure she went through everything anyone else opening a business would have to go through in the township. She had given us a few. concessions… on things that she wanted to do that she doesn’t do anymore because of some of the problems you’re having, ”said Dalfonso.

“We can certainly contact them to see what they would be willing to concede or work with us in some way or another to make this more beneficial for everyone, especially the neighbors concerned, but we cannot not doing much under the current law which we have on the books here in the Township of Derry, “said Dalfonso.” … At present, we do not have any part of the law at decibel level in our nuisance ordinance. It’s a very vague ordinance. “

Morelli said the company was carefully following all township and state requirements before and since the season opened, and it has altered some plans with neighboring properties in mind, including orienting the scene away from the sound equipment of neighboring houses.

“I followed all the guidelines and rules they gave me,” said Morelli. “I actually went to introduce myself and told the neighbors who were right in front of me and told them we were going to open up and if they had any problems please contact me. I will do whatever. I can.”

Supervisors also took action Tuesday to advance stormwater infrastructure improvements near the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center (EWCTC), approving a resolution to condemn part of a property on Meadow Drive.

The property at 219 Meadow Drive was the last right-of-way needed for the project to continue, Slifka said.

Earlier this year, supervisors approved the award of two alternative bids for additional work related to the construction of a bioretention basin and storm water inlets near the EWCTC to collect and filter water from runoff of approximately 90 township acres.

Supervisors also previously awarded the base bid for the project in the Meadow Drive and Fawn Court area to RJF Development Corporation, based in Greensburg. Thirteen contractors submitted bids for the project, ranging from RJF Development’s low bid of $ 299,290 to a high bid of approximately $ 489,000. Supervisors also previously awarded two alternative offers to the same company, RJF Development, for a total of an additional $ 92,316.

Slifka previously said the project is intended to capture and filter stormwater from the Terney plan of homes, reducing the volume of runoff and controlling the flow for flows in Sulfur Run, a flood-prone waterway in parts Lower Township of Derry and Town of Latrobe. The original intention was to capture 30 acres of water, but now the scope of the project is over 90 acres, he noted.

The previously awarded alternative bids will not expand the area from which the project collects stormwater, but will allow water from the project area to flow more efficiently to the bioretention basin, Slifka said.

The work covered by the alternative offers involves additional storm water pipes and inlets in the Cameron Street and Meadow Street area, as well as the extension of the storm water infrastructure that would have ended at the cul-de-sac on Fawn Court closest to EWCTC with additional pipelines and entrances extending to Branwell Drive.

A second bioretention basin is planned in the Industrial Boulevard sector and a third under construction near Maple Drive and Penn Avenue.

In the remaining business on Tuesday, supervisors approved:

  • Creation of a new money market account at the First Commonwealth Bank to be used to fund the township’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. According to the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors, the Township of Derry is expected to receive $ 1,366,949 in US bailout funds, half last month and the rest in June 2022;
  • Reapproving the revision of the Letosky lot line on 11th Street, the Landers subdivision of Mannito Road and the Harris subdivision of Barnhart Road;
  • Review of Maiolie subdivision on Guthrie Road and Gradischek subdivision on Toms Lane.

Supervisors also received an update from Derry Township Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 from Bradenville Fire Chief Mark Piantine regarding the construction of the department’s new fire hall. Piantine said the floor of the building had been poured and the steel for the building’s structure had been delivered.

Contractors will begin erecting the steel building on Monday, July 12, which will require the closure of Westmoreland Avenue in Bradenville so that cranes and other equipment have room to function.


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