Residents squabbling over street lights and snowblower usage dominated Fairview Township’s first Board of Supervisors meeting this year. Supervisors Michael Iorio, Robert Orloski, and newcomer Fred Rose patiently listened to the concerns of half a dozen residents and agreed to do what’s best for the township, while keeping those concerns in mind.
The first issue brought up was about the installation of new street lights in the Highland Woods area. One light has been installed and three more are in the works as a result of the board hearing complaints back in July about the area being extremely dark at night and lacking sidewalks, creating a safety hazard.
John Belanger told the board that he and dozens of his neighbors are unhappy with having street lights near their homes as they moved to this area for the “dark and peaceful corners” of Mountaintop and to get away from the lights of the city.
“We don’t want or need street lights in front of our homes,” Belanger related to the board. “…Highland Woods does not have a crime or traffic problem so why are we trying to solve problems that don’t exist?”
He presented the supervisors with a petition, that he circulated both door-to-door and online. Signed by over 50 residents, the petition asks the township to cease the installation of any more street lights in their neighborhood. Belanger went on to describe studies in other areas that prove street lights do not deter crime and that they interfere with a person’s sleep patterns.
“We will make a decision based on what we feel is in the best interest of the township and we will let you know,” Supervisor Iorio responded. The reason the street lights were decided on was because some residents brought the board concerns about it being too dark in Highland Woods, Supervisor Orloski added. “We have an obligation to do what’s best for the residents and the taxpayers of the township,” he said.
John Ziomek, of 36 Farmhouse Road, told the board that, while he doesn’t mind street lights and he understands the board’s concerns, a tall, overly bright light has been installed behind his home, lighting his yard like a parking lot and impacting his quality of life. “The residents impacted should have a say in what type of street lights are installed,” he said.
Iorio responded that the type of lighting is completely decided on by PPL and the township has no input. After more discussion, Orloski agreed to inquire with PPL about the degree of lighting coming from the street lights, but made it clear that he wasn’t confident anything would be changed.
Resident Loni Cinoski, who was at the meeting with two neighbors who favored the lights, thanked the supervisors for installing one near her home and stressed that it doesn’t not interfere with her sleep or home life and that it is helpful as it sheds light on her once too-dark street.
Next, resident Dave Kalinowski, of Circle Drive, asked the board for its interpretation of the township noise ordinance as it pertains to snowblower usage. While the ordinance states that lawnmowers and household power tools are only permitted to be used between 8 a. m. and 9 p. m., Kalinowski said he sometimes has to use his snowblower before work, at 7 a. m., and his neighbor has called the police on him for doing so. “This isn’t a regular occurrence. I’m not out there daily,” he related. “I’m at the mercy of Mother Nature or an act of God.”
Attorney Donald Karpowich responded that a snowblower is not a household power tool, so it is not included in the noise ordinance. “You