Fired Up Over Fireworks

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CHOCONUT TOWNSHIP -- A new business is set to move into a neighborhood in Susquehanna County, and it has some neighbors worried.

There are fewer than a dozen homes along Meadow Lane in Choconut Township. Sal Gatto has lived there with his two kids for 11 years, but now plans to build a fireworks store in this empty field less than 200 feet from his home in Susquehanna County, have him concerned.

"We’re worried that this building is not safe for our kids," said Gatto.

Rudolph Mattes has worked as a township supervisor for more than 40 years in Choconut Township. He said the township approved driveway and sewage permits for the space and had to legally.

There are no zoning laws in this area, but the township says the owner has to meet some state requirements before he can start selling any fireworks.

"The building needs sprinkler systems, needs all types of regulation because people will be coming in and out as a business. That’s where it’s at and he hasn’t applied for any of this yet," said Mattes.

Even though the plan to put a fireworks building along Meadow Lane is far from complete, one homeowner is so concerned about what this might do to his community that he’s already put his home up for sale.

"Yes, we’ve tried to move but nobody wants to buy the house knowing what’s going on across the street," said Gatto.

Neighbors are also banding together along the rural road. They say a fireworks store would increase traffic, and put the eight kids who live on the street in danger. Mattes says for now, the matter is out of his hands.

"Basically, people can sell the land to whoever they want to sell it to, no restrictions," said Mattes.

Newswatch 16 did attempt to contact the person who is planning to build the store, but couldn't reach him for comment.

Neighbors said they plan to be at the Choconut Township meeting Monday night to voice their concerns to township leaders yet again.