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County toughens its loitering ordinance

September 06, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Prompted by young people hanging out in a county parking lot in the evenings and leaving their trash behind, the Franklin County Commissioners amended the county loitering ordinance Thursday to give police a little more leverage in enforcing it.

There has been an ongoing problem with people loitering in the parking lot outside of the county administration annex at 218 N. Second St., Chambersburg, at night and leaving behind trash and bottles, said Commissioner G. Warren Elliott.

"There have been significant incidents of trash, bottles and things thrown on the roof," Elliott said. "We need to put a stop to it. This will allow police to actively enforce it. We can't tolerate destruction of public property."

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The county first enacted a loitering ordinance about three years ago, but the former ordinance did not go into effect until 10 p.m. The borough police had no authority to act on the ordinance before then, and people were gathering earlier and earlier.

The amended ordinance prohibits loitering in all Franklin County-owned parking lots or in vehicles parked there between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The ordinance excludes people repairing disabled vehicles.

Anyone violating the ordinance can be sentenced to pay a $25 fine and costs of prosecution. Failure to pay the fine could result in imprisonment of up to five days, according to the ordinance.

County Administrator John Hart said the Second Street lot is the only one that will have the ordinance posted on a sign because it is currently the only county lot experiencing this problem.

He said if it becomes a problem at other county lots, which include the Franklin County Courthouse, the Franklin County Prison and the Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, signs would be posted and police would enforce the loitering ordinance.

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