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Polk sends firearms revision to planning commission

The Polk Township supervisors opted Monday night to send the proposed firearms ordinance and short-term rental property ordinance back to the township’s planning commission.

Brian Ahner, chairman of the supervisors, said they have received some good suggestions from the public and they would like the planning commission to discuss them and give them some feedback.

Ahner didn’t go into details, but he said the township’s building inspector, for example, gave some recommendations about the use of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

“They know we are trying to protect them. The residents have some good ideas,” he said. “We just want to make sure these rental places are safe.”

The Polk Township short-term rental ordinance was first proposed in late October, but had not been advertised. The supervisors decided at that meeting to follow-up about the ordinance in the new year.

The ordinance was created from a template from the Monroe County Planning Commission. It governs everything from permits, fees and standards to marketing, nuisances, violations and penalties with short-term rentals.

Owners of the rentals would be required to collect sales tax and pay the hotel taxes.

The firearms ordinance came up at the supervisor’s meeting in December. It is something they have been working on with the township’s Planning Commission for several months. Currently, a firearms ordinance does not exist in the township.

The ordinance would prohibit the discharge of firearms in certain areas of the municipality.

“It comes down to safety,” Ahner said at the December meeting.

The proposed firearms ordinance was created in response to complaints from residents concerned about guns being discharged too close to houses. It would include any gun, shotgun, rifle, handgun, pistol and any other device that propels a projectile through force. It does not apply to a bow and arrow, crossbow, BB gun or pellet gun.

As currently drafted, the discharge of firearms would be prohibited:

• In any residential subdivision.

• Within 150 yards of any adjacent occupied structure, camp or farm.

• Anywhere in the township before dawn or after dusk.

• On any property smaller than 1 continuous acre.

• Under any circumstance where the bullet or other fired projectile will not remain on the same property where it was discharged.

The ordinance also prohibits reckless, careless or improper use of any firearm being used for the purpose of causing damage or harm to people or their property within the township. If a person is found in violation of the ordinance, then law enforcement would have the right to seize the weapon as evidence.

The matter would then go before a magisterial district judge, and if found guilty, the person could pay a fine of up to $1,000 plus costs. If the fine isn’t paid, then the person could go to jail for up to 90 days.

In other business:

• Troy Meckes was hired in the road maintenance department.

• The 1998 box truck was sold through Municibid for $5,100.

• A resolution was passed to consolidate all of the ordinances into one book and to have them placed on the township’s website for easy access. This work is being done by General Code.