On any given summer weekend, Mt. Laurel resident Jim Petruzzi can sit in his backyard and listen as ATVs race behind his home on Knotty Oak Drive.
The vehicles can be seen darting back and forth along a long stretch of dirt between Petruzzi’s home and the New Jersey Turnpike. What leaves in their path is a lot of noise and clouds of dust floating over Petruzzi’s backyard.
Petruzzi came to last night’s Mt. Laurel Council meeting to ask for assistance in getting the dirt bikers out of the area. He told council it has gotten to the point where he can no longer enjoy his backyard.
“You’re sitting outside trying to have a family barbecue and it’s really becoming a nuisance,” he said.
The bikers are riding on a dirt path below the high-tension power lines running between the Turnpike and the homes on Knotty Oak Drive. Petruzzi has called both the Mt. Laurel Police and the New Jersey State Police, to no avail.
The biggest problem is the bikes create a lot of noise and dust, he said. While the ATVs are zipping up and down the length of the power lines, Petruzzi said there has been a ton of issues concentrated directly behind his home.
“They’re doing wheelies and then they’ll go behind my house and they’re doing donuts,” he said. “You’ll be sitting there and a cloud of dust comes and gets all over everything.”
Petruzzi said this isn’t the first summer ATVs and dirt bikes have run behind his home. This has been an ongoing issue for a few years, however, this year the number of vehicles has become excessive.
There were some questions among council as to whether anyone should be riding bikes along the property. Councilman Jim Keenan asked township manager Maureen Mitchell about contacting PSE&G to fence in the area around the high-tension wires or post no trespassing signs, since the area is private property.
Petruzzi said he doesn’t necessarily have a problem with ATVs in general, but he wishes the bikers would have more consideration for the neighborhood.
“I grabbed a few of the kids and they say they’re sorry,” Petruzzi said. “But some of them I can’t talk to. I can’t keep running out there every 10 minutes.”
“If the town wants to allow it and say let the kids have fun, they need to find a way to be respectful to all our homes,” he added.