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Borough council considers loitering ordinance

March 24, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Anyone who roams the streets downtown at night may soon be breaking the law if the Waynesboro Borough Council adopts an ordinance banning loitering.

The council also is considering a noise ordinance that would make it illegal to drive cars with the kind of loud mufflers that seem to be popular with young drivers in Waynesboro these days, said Councilman Clint Barkdoll, who is pushing both ordinances.

Also affected by a noise ordinance would be loud car radios. Drivers of heavy trucks who use their loud engine brakes would also be breaking the law if the ordinance passes.

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Waynesboro's proposed loitering law is being drafted after one passed by the Franklin County Commissioners to control loitering in parking lots of county-owned buildings, said Allie Kohler, a member of Downtown Waynesboro Inc.

The local merchants group is pushing the ordinance along with Barkdoll.

A draft proposal of the loitering ordinance was given to the council last Wednesday night for review by its attorney, who will check for constitutional issues.

The law, if adopted, would ban loitering on Main Street between Fairview Avenue and Northeast Avenue between 8 p.m. and 6 p.m. It covers steps, entrance halls and sidewalks of residences and businesses along Main Street.

Signs stating that the law is in effect would be placed in windows along Main Street.

Violation carries a $25 fine, court costs and up to five days in jail.

"Loitering and the noise downtown is getting out of control," Barkdoll said after Tuesday's council meeting.

He said most of the problems are caused by teens hanging out in the downtown area after school and at night.

"It's become a real deterrent for businesses and the shoppers who come into town," Barkdoll said.

He said the council has been receiving constant complaints about the problems.

"It's absolutely critical that we address the loitering and noise or we won't be able to attract business downtown," he said.

The council's Downtown Revitalization and Finance Committee, which deals with downtown issues, will take up the proposals at a meeting Monday night.

The borough police chief and attorney will be involved in the discussions.

Barkdoll said he wants the two ordinances in place by Memorial Day.

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