Franklin Township supervisors adopted an ordinance on Tuesday night that restricts large vehicles from driving on Overlook Drive and Indian Hill Road in the township.
Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rated in excess of 21,000 lbs. regardless of whether or not it is a combination or a trailer or tractor, a combination of a trailer and a double tractor or a single vehicle. Vehicles over 28-1/2 feet are also restricted.
Any emergency vehicles or vehicles making local deliveries or pickups on the two identified streets are exempt from the ordinance. Anyone violating this ordinance is guilty of a summary offense and could be fined from $300 to $500.
This ordinance repeals a previous ordinance that also restricted large vehicles.
Supervisors tabled adopting the ordinance last month after Jared Hoffman, a resident of the township and owner of All Points Towing and Recovery, Jim Thorpe, advised supervisors that the language of the new ordinance does not match the signage.
Robin Cressley, township roadmaster, had asked supervisors to consider such an ordinance to keep larger trucks off township roads so they don't break up the shoulders. He said that the ordinance will force truck drivers to use state roads which are better able to handle the heavier trucks.
Hoffman had said last month that one of the police officers in the Franklin Township Police Department has singled him out to cite him when he drives home from work with his rig and that he appealed a past citation and won.
Hoffman said that since he lives in the township and that Indian Hill Road is a direct route to his home, that he should not be singled out to be cited. Hoffman suggested that he was in fact an emergency vehicle while going to a call.
Rod Green, chairman, said that he had spoken with the police officer, but that the officer had said that he will not give any breaks to Hoffman. Green suggested that Hoffman use state routes to avoid any problems with citation.
"We can't do preferential treatment," said Green.
Hoffman noted that he is not the only business which uses large vehicles and named a Christmas tree business which will have issues using Indian Hill Road when their business becomes more active next month.
Hoffman said that people will be watching to see if that business uses an alternate route or uses Indian Hill Road. He noted that the business will be forced to use a road that has no winter maintenance as its main entrance, which will cost the township more to maintain it.
Green said that Hoffman's preferred route and the route preferred by the township had a difference of less than a mile.
Hoffman said that when there was an emergency, the response time is important and the longer distance makes a huge difference when he is on an emergency call.
"We can't pick and choose who we will cite," said Green.
Hoffman also mentioned a third business which will be impacted by the ordinance.
'This is just harassment," said Hoffman. "It's ridiculous, I live here. Every minute counts when you are going to an emergency. This proves what I said, that I am being singled out."
Franklin Supervisors also approved having Pennsylvania Department of Transportation perform mandatory bridge inspections for the township.
Green noted that the township engineer suggested to have PennDOT perform the inspections because of the tight time frame for making reports.
Supervisors approved having Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company attend the Lehighton Halloween parade on Oct. 20 and approved a request from the Beltzville Lions Club to have Special Fire Police perform traffic control assistance for the Old Fashioned Hay Ride and Fall Fest on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28 at Weissport and the Lehigh Canal Park.