The North Lebanon Township Board of Supervisors gave contingent approval to an application submitted by Morgan and Sean Innocent, to house wild animals at a new business at the Lebanon Valley Mall.
In addition to displaying various types of reptiles, the Innocents will also sell certain animals such as baby bearded dragons, corn snakes, and geckos.
The application will be approved as soon as the Innocents provide a copy of a valid license to operate such a business from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and provide a certificate of liability insurance.
Morgan Innocent, a trained nurse, said she grew up spending time along and in the Swatara Creek, discovering small animals in the wild, some of which she took home to surprise her mother.
In addition to displaying animals that people keep as pets or typically avoid, the Innocents will occasionally display a 5-foot alligator, with the assistance of Joie Henney, who hosted an ESPN show called "Joie Henney's Outdoors" from 1989 to 2000.
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Also, at the meeting the board approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance that prohibits the burning of motor vehicles in junkyards, to the section of the ordinance that already prohibits the burning of tires, oil, grease, gasoline and other materials that could cause noxious smoke or odors. That same amendment adds the cul-de-sac areas of Snapdragon Court, Loretta Drive, and Linda Drive, to the list of designated snow emergency routes.
Township solicitor Amy Leonard conducted an advertised public hearing during the meeting for an ordinance amendment that would make it "unlawful for any person...to operate or permit the operation of any ATV, dirt bike or similar type of motor vehicle for recreational use on private property" in any area zoned as Residential Rural. The existing ordinance prohibits such use in districts zoned Residential 1 and Residential 2.
A farm owner at the hearing said people using snowmobiles drive onto his fields after light snowfalls without his consent, damaging his fields and then move onto to other areas before the police can apprehend the trespassers. He said he wondered if the proposed ordinance change would cause recreational vehicle users to migrate from the Residential Rural districts to the rural farm districts for their joy rides.
The board decided to table a vote on the proposed amendment for further consideration. After the discussion, supervisor Gary Heisey said he noticed earlier in the day that a snowmobile driver had done "doughnuts" on the baseball field next located next to Heisey's Diner during the night.
Township manager, Cheri Grumbine, reported that after the township received notification that it would receive a state grant for improvements to Lion's Lake Park, she received a recent letter from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources informing her the project is being submitted to the Land and Water Conservation Fund managed by the U. S. National Park Service because it is a "good candidate" for federal funding.
Glenn Lebanon Fire Chief Brian Vragovich reported that in 2021 the fire companies of North Lebanon Township responded to 149 fire calls, 156 rescue and EMS calls, 5 weather/disaster calls, and 117 false alarms. The volunteer fire personnel also gave a total of 1,372 hours of their time during the year for training.
Police Chief Tim Knight reported that in 2021 the department responded to 2,598 reportable incidents, made 52 felony arrests and 212 misdemeanor arrests, and issued 951 traffic tickets and 125 non-traffic tickets.
In other business the board:
-Approved the sale of sale of a 2013 Ford Police Interceptor sedan to a buyer in Kansas for $4,200.
-Approved the purchase of LED ceiling lights and two "automatic on" sensors for a storage building at the cost of $3,650. Heisey voted against the purchase explaining that it is "a 'want', rather than a 'need". "I guess it is just my business sense," he said.
This article originally appeared on Lebanon Daily News: North Lebanon Township supervisors give contingent approval for a reptile population boom in Lebanon Valley Mall