Disagreement in Milford over how to handle noise complaints

Restaurant owner wants complainers to come to him, not the police: But officials say residents should not be expected to stop situations on their own

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  • The Dimmick Inn

In other borough news

Borough officials will discuss the draft budget in a work session to be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at borough hall, said acting borough council president Meagan Kameen. Borough secretary Angela Linton said the budget will be posted on the borough’s web page, milfordboro.org.
Commander Richard Diaz of the Marsch-Kellogg American Legion Post 139 in Milford asked about the case of the part-time police officer, Nathaniel Todd Beierle, who complained about not getting military leave pay from the borough. Mayor Sean Strub said that because of a miscommunication in July, Beierle never submitted some necessary paperwork for pay due to him from 2014 and 2015, but is getting it together now.
Anyone who wants to be considered to fill a vacancy on the borough council should send a letter of interest to the borough (Milford Borough Office, 111 West Catharine St., Milford, PA 18337). The vacancy will be left by Aaron May, who last month was elected to a four-year term on the council.
A public works employee asked that people parking in the borough’s alleys during snow season leave enough room for snow plows to pass.
A discussion ensured about vehicles parked on sidewalks and property owners improving and then co-opting public property in front of their homes. “It all goes back to enforcement,” said Councilman Robert Ciervo. “No one is here to enforce anything.” Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg said about the improvements, “People need to understand they’re really widening the street.”
Ciervo said temporary repairs on the Brook Hill Road wash out cost $2,000.
Kameen said $3,000 will be given to borough employees as year-end bonuses.
Mayor Sean Strub said the borough will try a speed bump in accordance with a suggestion by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s report on traffic calming. The bump can be moved. The borough has not yet decided where it will go.
A part-time police officer was hired at a starting salary of $16.50 per hour pending background checks.
Strub said all police vehicles are now carrying the opioid antidote naloxone.
Calling All Angels’ application for a new sign was approved.
Councilwoman Annette Haar thanked the parks department and volunteers for sprucing up the park.

— After a testy discussion about an old social media post that put the Milford mayor on defense (see related story), a restaurant owner complained at length about what he feels is unequal treatment of his business.

John Jorgenson, owner of Jorgenson's Dimmick Inn, said his business is often unfairly singled out over noise and other matters of compliance. For example, he said, he's required to use expensive materials instead of sturdy but inexpensive materials, like vinyl to frame his windows, but not everyone else in the architectural overlay district complies.

He went so far as to accuse borough officials of calling the Liquor Control Board to complain about noise at the Dimmick while letting other businesses in the borough slide. In one case, he said, the board got in touch with him four months after an incident was resolved with the local police chief.

Borough officials denied ever calling the Liquor Control Board. However, Meagan Kameen, the acting borough council president, said the borough does get calls from residents distressed over disturbances at alcohol-serving establishments. When that happens, she said, officials will explain the law and suggest they call the Liquor Control Board for recourse.

Jorgenson's take is that people should just come to his establishment to let him know, neighbor to neighbor, when there's too much noise.

"Regular citizens are being told to call 911 over music," he said. He put the blame on "a few complainers."

"A guy with a guitar on the porch, with people gathered around — is this really a problem?" asked one man.

Kameen said people call the police because "they're the ones who take action." And Mayor Sean Strub, who owns the Hotel Fauchere, said a neighbor may not want to court a confrontation.

"They don't think that's their job" to go into a bar they're not familiar with and stop a situation on their own, Strub said.

He said someone called the Liquor Control Board on the Fauchere, when a party moved onto the porch over the air conditioning broke. He suggested an objective method — a decibel limit and means of measurement — as the solution to the problem.

It may also be possible to apply to the Liquor Control Board for an exemption, so that only local laws apply, Strub said.

"It's a process to work out with the state," he said.

But Jorgenson still felt that more was expected of his business than others, like the Fauchere, that do what they want to do.

"You have to constantly respect the balance," said Strub. He said there was a difference between "occasional offense and constant offense."

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