ERWIN TOWNSHIP – More than 50 people packed the Erwin Township Town Hall for an informational meeting regarding a proposed ordinance that would place traffic restrictions on heavy truck traffic through the township.
Township supervisor Bill Sullivan presented Ordinance No. 2014-1 to the public, and the ordinance is designed as a measure of protecting the township's roads.
Sullivan said he has seen the township's funds shrink since he began as supervisor 18 years ago. During that same time the cost of asphalt has grown, which has made it difficult to maintain the condition of roads.
Sullivan said GPS systems have also lead more traffic through Erwin Township.
"The heavy truck traffic now has basically contributed immensely to our road deterioration," Sullivan said.
According to Sullivan, he also had a number of safety concerns by township residents and complaints of noise pollution associated with heavy truck traffic.
"That's why the board tonight is basically considering the adoption of an ordinance that is going to restrict truck routes through the township but still preserve the interior operations within the township," he said.
The ordinance first prohibits all truck travel on township roads, then makes a number of exemptions, such as emergency personnel vehicles, garbage service vehicles, trucks making pickups and deliveries within the township and several others.
The main concern of people in the audience was the section allowing for special permits. Several individuals felt permits would interfere with businesses such as logging, which can change with the weather, and securing a permit would slow business down.
Others said the ordinance could disrupt the traffic flow, putting twice as much heavy truck traffic on roads maintained by other cash-strapped townships.
The board listened to audience members voice their concerns for about an hour and a half. Sullivan said he noticed problems with the ordinance after hearing from the public.
"It's one of those things that you thought you were doing it right, but I see some real problems here," Sullivan said. "You tend to put your blinders on sitting at your kitchen table. You think its clear, you think its good, then you see the faults."
Sullivan thanked the members of the audience for their input and said the board would continue discussing the issue.