Gunfire, ATV traffic concern Hughestown residents

By B. Garret Rogan - For Times Leader | August 10th, 2015 11:42 pm

HUGHESTOWN — Gunfire and illegal all-terrain vehicle traffic were the main topics of conversation at Monday night’s regular council meeting.

These two topics have easily been the most frequent sources of residential complaints over the past few years, but several residents from the vicinity of Center and Griffith streets contended that the issues are beyond critical.

Despite an ordinance that largely prohibits gunfire within borough limits, an apparent loophole has allowed a resident to allow some individuals to utilize his heavily wooded property at the corner of Parsonage and Center Streets for target practice.

According to past investigations from Hughestown officials, shots are fired away from other residences in the area and no immediate danger is presented to Hughestown residents. Further complicating measures is the fact that a portion of the property technically falls within the limits of the neighboring borough of Duryea.

Despite these investigations, Hughestown residents at Monday’s meeting, as well as attendees to meetings in the past, state that the noise generated from the shots constitutes a nuisance.

Many residents also are under the impression that the ones doing the shooting on the property are off duty police officers from Hughestown and surrounding communities.

Scott Carey of Griffith Street, near Center Street, claims to place calls to Luzerne County 9-1-1 each time shots are fired only to find that police officers do not always respond.

Another resident echoing Carey’s claim reported that a 9-1-1 dispatcher already knew the address of the shooting complaint at the onset of her call.

Residents are under the assumption that on-duty officers are hesitant to take action because they may know the off-duty officers utilizing the property. Those residents fear what would happen if shots unrelated to the target shooting were to be reported and on-duty officers again fail to properly respond.

Hughestown officials intend to meet with the property owner to alleviate the concerns of neighbors in the area.

It is also hoped that he will cut off access to his property for ATV riders.

Residents report that ATV traffic in the area has actually gotten worse despite added police presence intended to suppress the illegal ATV traffic.

Police officers share the frustrations of residents, but lament the fact that they are unable to catch riders in violating ordinances and are therefore unable to issue citations and impound vehicles.

With similar complaints coming from the neighboring boroughs of Dupont and Avoca, the communities can come together for a comprehensive solution.

Borough officials implored residents to cooperate in any possible ways to help identify riders who have been continually problematic in the greater Pittston area.

Hughestown holds its next regular council meeting on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

By B. Garret Rogan

For Times Leader

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