Letter from John Perzel
Dear Mr. Ferrick:
I read with interest your latest missive concerning SB 969 and a provision that was inserted concerning catering at the Glen Foerd Mansion. As I read your column, I wondered whether you had ever researched the background material or facts which led to this provision. I know I was unable to personally talk with you last week about the situation, but still, your other research was certainly not clear from the column, so I would like to set forth the facts.
Conroy Catering operates the Glen Foerd Mansion, and at various times, weddings, graduations and other celebrations are held on the premises. While a resident from New Jersey - more than a mile across the river - complained to the Pennsylvania State Police concerning a noise complaint, Conroy Catering never received a noise complaint from any of the more than 200 neighbors surrounding the mansion.
The Pennsylvania State Police apparently drove over the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, paid the toll, and went to see the resident in New Jersey who complained, and later, cited the owner of Conroy Catering for violation of a Pennsylvania noise ordinance in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board again sent a sound truck to New Jersey, crossed the bridge, paid the toll, and conducted tests that proved inconclusive for high noise.
Conroy Catering, at its own expense, built a covered and enclosed dance floor at the Glen Foerd Mansion, and installed decibel meters at the rivers edge and other places around the property to monitor noise. In addition, the facility also installed an acoustic mat under the stage, and acoustically-rated walls on the east side of the facility. The decibel meters have never recorded a reading above the city's legal limit and, in fact, never recorded a reading above the Delanco Township legal limit.
Mr. Conroy is a constituent of mine and employs many Philadelphians, many of whom are also my constituents, and who pay taxes in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. To my knowledge, most people in New Jersey do not pay taxes in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania.
This amendment was a way to resolve the problem without putting Mr. Conroy of out business and hundreds of service employees out of work. I can understand Ms. Barrett's and Mr. Templeton's complaints; I get similar ones from my constituents who complain about truck traffic to and from the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. My response to the constituents is the same one I have for the Barrett/Templeton's - it was their decision to live on the Delaware River. If they are not aware, please allow me to tell them now, ships travel the Delaware, and if we are successful in deepening the channel on the Delaware, more ships will travel the river. Do we limit the number of those ships? Do we limit flights from the airport because those who reside in flight patterns complain about noise? Do we penalize Amtrak for sounding whistles in residential areas? Tell me, where and when is the line drawn?
John M. Perzel
Beth A. WilliamsPress Secretary to the SpeakerPennsylvania House of Representatives717-783-8125