Peace Restored as Propane Cannons Silenced

A New Jersey farmer's propane cannons have been silenced after neighbors complained their quality of life was suffering from the constant noise. (image: belmontswcd.org)

A New Jersey farmer whose propane cannons have plagued nearby residents has been ordered to silence the hi-tech farm machinery so his neighbors can get some sleep, centraljersey.com reports.

Propane.pro reported last month on the case of John Drake, who had a Department of Environmental Protection permit to fire the cannons on his Montgomery farm. The noisy cannon fire scared away pesky birds and critters that would otherwise have turned his pumpkin crop into a “smorgasbord”.

But the incessant noise sparked a flood of complaints. Neighbors claimed their quality of life was suffering because of the constant cannon fire, and eventually forced local authorities into action.
The cannon noise ranges from 115 to 130 decibels. The levels are within limits stipulated in the permit but exceed the township’s noise ordinance.

The Montgomery Township Committee ordered Drake to cease firing his propane-powered cannons on Sept.15. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese said. Drake withdrew his permit and would no longer fire the cannons, which had sounded every three to seven minutes – 24 hours a day.

Instead, Drake has been issued a deer deprivation permit that allows licensed hunters to hunt deer on his farm.

”I’m happy to be able to tell you DEP met with John Drake this week and will allow him to aggressively hunt (the deer on his farm). He agreed to no longer firing,” Mayor Mark Caliguire said.

”The law itself said the permit they issued could be revoked if it put an ‘undue hardship’ on residents. It seems like a good result. He can more effectively protect his investment and nearby residents get their quality of life restored.”

Resident Brett Borowski said: “I’m great, my family is extremely relieved with the outcome.”

And although residents are finally getting some peace, some neighbors now fear what will happen next year when the permit comes up for renewal.

”Until the DEP removes the permit and agrees not to issue future permits for these devices in Montgomery we could see a repeat of this in years to come,” resident Dave Bonfield said.

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