Slippery Rock residents clash with council

The borough votes to advertise proposed ordinance

Published by James Cressman, Date: October 25, 2023
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Slippery Rock Borough

The Slippery Rock Borough Council held its monthly council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Several community members attended to voice their concern for the proposed noise ordinance, which has been a topic of contention within the community for several months. The Rocket previously covered this story on Oct. 5.

One resident cited the city of Pittsburgh’s noise ordinance, which states that during the time between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., noise cannot exceed 65db. Per the Slippery Rock Borough’s findings, the highest recorded decibel reading was 68db, leaving the community member to question why the council would want to raise the limit another 22db.

Council member Alex Tuten responded to the community concerns by pointing out that up until now, the borough did not have an enforceable noise ordinance, something Tuten says members of the community never raised concerns about.

Tuten explained that the proposed noise ordinance is to help protect the community, offering an ordinance that can be enforced if needed.

Tuten’s response was not warmly received, with several members of the community shaking their heads in disagreement. No council members raised concerns against the proposed noise ordinance.

Slippery Rock mayor Jondavid Longo asked Borough Manager Christian Laskey how much money the borough had to spend in order for Gateway Engineers to use calibrated instruments to test the decibel readings within the borough.

Laskey was unable to give an exact figure but said that the cost was easily over $1,000 when adding in the cost of advertising. For the exact figure, he would need to go back and look at the invoice from Gateway Engineers.

The mayor then asked the council what prompted all the testing, to which John Hicks, a councilman, responded, “The flag.”

Longo expressed his frustration that Slippery Rock taxpayers were footing the bill for noise decibel tests over a noise complaint about the “Grand Old Flag,” a project that was paid for by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and donations.

Ian Oman, a member of the community who voiced his concerns with the borough over the noise created by the flag earlier in the year, was in attendance. According to the mayor, Oman alleged that noise from the flag was causing noise decibels over 100db inside his home.

The mayor referenced Oman by name while speaking on testing that may have been costly and unnecessary. Oman attempted to respond to the mayor’s comments but was cut short due to meeting rules.

During the second portion of community input, the borough solicitor, Rebecca Black, offered Oman the opportunity to speak. Oman alleged that the mayor was misconstruing his words.

“At no time did I say I took a measurement of 100db inside my home,” Oman continued on to say, “I’ve explained to multiple people that I was speaking on impulse noise, which is a different decibel reading than the ones we’re discussing right now.”

Oman used the term “whip crack” as an example of an impulse noise, one which would cause a sudden rise in noise decibels.

Longo asked Oman if his phone was calibrated to properly take noise decibel measurements, to which Oman replied that he no longer wished to continue with the conversation and sat down.

After hearing final input from community members, the borough council voted to advertise the proposed ordinance to the community.

After the meeting, The Rocket had the opportunity to speak with Longo about the proposed ordinance. He explained what the next steps are before the ordinance is formally voted on.

“The borough will be advertising the ordinance to the public; at our next meeting any members of the community will be welcome to come and speak and be heard on the proposed ordinance,” Longo said.

The Rocket attempted to speak with Oman, who declined the invitation.

At the Nov. 21 meeting, members of the community will be allowed to come and speak for or against the proposed ordinance. The council will then decide to vote the ordinance into law or table the ordinance for further discussion.

On Oct. 26, Mayor Longo responded to The Rocket’s article on the Oct. 17 Slippery Rock Borough Council meeting.

Longo tabled the article, “Not a clear presentation of the facts.” He commented that the meeting was not a clash between the council and “regular citizens” but a clash between the council and Ian Oman.

Oman is responsible for the initial complaint to the council in regards to the noise produced by the “Grand Old Flag.”

Longo charged Oman with costing the Slippery Rock taxpayers “thousands” of dollars in legal and engineering fees in relation to the tests that needed to take place over the initial complaint.

 

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James is a senior Strategic Communication and Media major with concentrations in digital media production and multimedia journalism. He also minors in film & media studies. James serves as the News Editor at The Rocket and President of Lambda Pi Eta: the National Communication Association’s Honor Society. James is a movie enthusiast, a “Star Wars” fanatic and a fan of all things comedy. James previously served as the President of WSRU-TV (2022-2024).

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