Neighbor’s shooting upsets Weatherly couple
A Weatherly couple came to borough council Monday to report a neighbor shooting on his property, close to their home.
Bob and Teresa Kairewich of East Third Street said the neighbor is shooting continuously on his property, and wanted to know if there was an ordinance regulating shooting firearms in the borough.
Solicitor James Nanovic said the borough does have an ordinance, but it may not be enforceable.
“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has laws which preempt local ordinances,” he said. “The Commonwealth says ‘here are the laws that we may have.’ We cannot regulate the use of firearms.
“My belief is our ordinance is probably preempted by state law and there is little that we can do,” Nanovic said, adding that he wanted to do more research on the matter.
Nanovic said he understands the neighbor is not hunting, and the Kairewichs said they aren’t sure if he’s shooting at animals or not.
“We don’t know what he’s doing back there,” Teresa Kairewich said. “Quite frankly, it’s frightening. We never know when it’s going to happen.
“We’re out cutting grass and shots are being fired,” she said. “Are they being fired at us? Are they being fired randomly? We really don’t know.”
The couple sent an email to the borough earlier this month regarding this ongoing issue, and borough Manager Harold Pudliner said he referred it to the police.
If the borough is preempted, what are the state laws regarding shooting a firearm and is there a minimum yardage from homes, Teresa Kairewich asked. Nanovic said there are regulations for hunting.
Bob Kairewich said other municipalities have ordinances regulating the discharge of a firearm in their communities, and Nanovic again said he wasn’t sure that the ordinances were enforceable and needed to do more research.
Police Chief Brian Markovchick said the borough’s ordinance on firearms applies in residential zones, and the Kairewichs live in an agricultural zone.
“Like the solicitor stated, the borough code may be antiquated by the passing of state legislation that says we can’t enforce that, and under state law, there’s nothing except if they’re hunting,” the chief said.
Nanovic said it was not a dead issue, and he would look into the matter to see what can be done.
Council approved resolutions for a statewide gaming grant and a state Department of Environmental Protection AMLER grant for continued work on the borough trail to the Lehigh Gorge at Penn Haven Junction.
Pudliner said he is still working on the amount being sought for the grants, and noted that the borough has already received $1.5 million in an AMLER grant for the trailhead partnering with DEP.
“We have the trailhead finished, and we have about one mile and a bridge will be finished by the summertime,” he said.
In other business, council:
• Approved a municipal minimum obligation for the police pension plan and non-uniform pension plan.
• Authorized the solicitor to publish an ordinance vacating a portion of Eighth Street and Pardee Street. This is a paper street, Nanovic said.
• Approved the Emergency Management Plan.