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Borough plans noise crackdown

June 28, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

The Waynesboro Borough Council is dusting off an old, little used disorderly conduct ordinance and aiming it at downtown noisemakers - loud mufflers, car radios, truck engine brakes, yelling and profanity among loiterers and the loiterers themselves.

Councilman Clint Barkdoll, chairman of the council's Property and Public Safety Committee, said complaints about the noise and loitering are coming from citizens and from Main Street Waynesboro Inc.

He said the crackdown will start "sometime this summer as (police) manpower allows."

The law - Ordinance No. 625, a copy of which was provided by Borough Police Chief Ray Shultz - was passed by the council in 1968. It amended an earlier ordinance adopted in 1947 that defines and prohibits disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

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Penalties include fines from $10 to $100 or up to 30 days in jail.

"We've never applied the ordinance to vehicles before," Shultz said.

Barkdoll said once police start issuing warnings and citations the problem may take care of itself, he said.

Robert Shaffer, 22, drives a 1987 Honda Accord. A large tailpipe extension juts out from underneath the rear bumper, like the kind seen on the cars of many young drivers as they cruise Main Street.

The cars - many are small imports although more powerful, sportier vehicles are in the mix - are so loud they sometimes shake the windows of buildings along Main Street.

Shaffer said a friend gave him the exhaust extension on his car. Called tips, they are usually bolted or clamped onto the end of the tailpipe and cost anywhere from $30 to $50.

In some cases, car owners opt for expensive high-performance exhaust systems, he said.

"They do it for show, to make their cars more noticeable," Shaffer said.

He doesn't see loud cars as an imposition on anyone.

"I don't think it's a big deal. They only take two seconds to go by," he said.

"There's nothing else to do around here except to build up your car," Shaffer said. "When they were younger the kids collected baseball cards. Now they build up their cars."

More than 15 teens and young adults were gathered on the southwest corner of the Public Square Thursday evening.

"What would they rather have us do, hang out downtown or be out somewhere causing problems?" said Willie Hennington, 18.

There's nothing to do or places for young people to go in Waynesboro, said Alex Mahoney, 16.

"If we go to Memorial Park the cops kick us out. Where are we supposed to go?" he said.

He suggested the borough put park benches on the square.

Shane Clevenger, 23, was waiting for the traffic light to change. The radio in his Ford Ranger pickup was blaring across the intersection.

"They're taking everything away from us," he said. "It's just our generation. Maybe we could turn stuff down after 10 p.m., but it's OK in the daytime."

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