Several residents of Third and Penn streets in Pennsburg came out Tuesday night to tell borough officials one thing with no uncertainty – Home City Ice operations have seriously impacted their lives. And not for the better.
Debra Dallas of Penn Street said noise from the ice plant, which resides within East Greenville borough, has been so bad she and her husband put up styrofoam insulation on their windows, restricting air flow inside their home.
"You have no idea what this has done to our quality of life," she said. "We have no silence. The huge compressors run 24-7. This has destroyed our property value. When will we be able to sell our house? What [East Greenville] Mayor [Ryan] Sloyer has allowed to happen is devastating."
Robert Stevens of Penn Street said he lives within 150 feet of the ice plant and can't sleep without earplugs because of the truck traffic noise that runs from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.
While he noted company officials have done their best lately to soften the noise, even moving designated parking areas farther away from his home, Stevens said the reefer trucks run all night, creating a loud, constant rumbling sound.
"When this all came about they said there wasn't going to be hardly any difference in traffic," he noted of the transition from the former owner to Home City. Speaking of the noise level, he said, "And the mayor of East Greenville (Ryan Sloyer) always said he took decibel readings but never said what they were."
"There is a lot of truck traffic," neighbor Tom Dagan complained. "And there's a lot of kids on bikes, going back and forth to the pool and all. I just pray nobody gets hurt."
Councilman Mike Mensch said Pennsburg officials are taking steps to continue talks with both Home City Ice and neighboring East Greenville borough.
"We're in the process of working on it. We are looking at it for our people," he said.
Pennsburg Mayor Vicki Lightcap said while East Greenville officials questioned why Pennsburg officials were at their inital council meeting discussing problems at the ice plant, she is happy the borough's residents are coming out to express their concerns.
Mensch said the question also remains why the plant's trucks are directed onto Pennsburg's Penn Street and how the borough is going to pay for related wear and tear on its roads. Penn Street, he said, is in need of resurfacing.
In a related issue, borough Solicitor Chuck Garner said he researched Pennsburg's master traffic ordinance and said it does regulate two-, three- and four-axle trucks. He said the borough "absolutely can restrict truck traffic on its streets" and there's work that can be done to ensure safety and the integrity of its infrastructure.
Mensch later asked Garner to send a letter to Home City Ice personnel to invite them to a roads committee meeting Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. Once that meeting is established, the borough will notify neighbors who want to address company officials with specific concerns.
In other news, officials approved the expense of $4,015 to outfit PPL utility poles with receptacles for holiday lights.
Officials also announced they need Community Day volunteers Sept. 6 and the borough is back to its old schedule of chipping branches twice a month.