Dorney Park denied nightly fireworks by zoning board, appealing decision

Posted Saturday, May 18, 2013 10:39 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

The Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom website is still touting plans to light the sky with fireworks every night from June 29 to Aug. 5, but South Whitehall Township says the displays are too much and won't allow them. The park has appealed the ruling but no decision is imminent.

Read more from The Morning Call.

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Monday, May 20, 2013 10:30 AM
Vater's avatar

HeyIsntThatRob? said:

Where I live, I'm about 45 minutes away from Cleveland Hopkins Airport under the runway approach if they have planes land from the Southwest (not the airline). So about every two minutes on some days there are planes flying about 2500 ft over our house. Should we tell the airport to stop letting planes land from the southwest?

You moved near the airport where planes have always flown overhead. This would be a relevant analogy if the airport decided this year to start launching space shuttles at 10pm every night for two months straight.

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Monday, May 20, 2013 10:33 AM

Personally, I'm afraid of fireworks. Fourth of July is one of my least favorite holidays.

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Monday, May 20, 2013 11:36 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

HeyIsntThatRob? said:

The park as been at that location for a long time, well before the houses sitting there.

That's another argument that always comes up, but I don't buy it. Two reasons:

1. Even if you use the premise of the park was there first, the fireworks weren't. They didn't move in next to a fireworks shows and they're trying to keep it that way.

2. It doesn't matter who was there first - they're both there now. And as members of the community the homeowners have a say in what happens in their neighborhood.


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Monday, May 20, 2013 11:47 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Not expressing an opinion yet either way, but I am curious to know what those of you who agree with the neighbors think about the issues that certain neighbors have had with Alton Towers building rides over the years. Same thing or no?


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Monday, May 20, 2013 12:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I've been pro-residents in those threads too (dig them up and check)...when I jump in. I usually stay out of these discussions because it's a enthusiast forum - of course the consensus is going to side with the park.

I totally understand not wanting the crap that comes with living near an amusement park or at least trying to keep it to a minimum.


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Monday, May 20, 2013 1:04 PM
rollergator's avatar

I see 2 issues at play: First, primacy, who was there first? If you move across the street from a KI, AT, or IB - then you kind of know in advance what you're getting into - there's an *established* amusement park in your immediate vicinity...were you expecting their business to grow, or to fail because it's inconvenient for you personally?

Second issue is one of nature or character of the business. Where I see this coming into play is one instance I vaguely remember of an FEC in SoCal....they'd had go-karts, a few ground-level type flats, and a kiddie coaster or some similar attractions. The neighborhood complained when they wanted to put in a big, tall, loud, flashy attraction (for some reason, I want to say it was a Skyscraper). In this instance, I'd be MUCH more inclined to side with the homeowners...

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Monday, May 20, 2013 1:07 PM

^^So as a resident, would you prefer to live next to a Geauga Lake? On one hand, no more traffic, noise, etc...on the other hand, an eye sore wasteland...

I know that's an extremist scenario, but if people are choosing to live next to an amusement park, shouldn't they expect the noise, traffic, and expansion that they complain about?

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Monday, May 20, 2013 1:17 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Depends on which bugs you more - the inconveniences that come from an operating park or the inconvceniences that come with a non-operating park.

Honest answer? I'd be more annoyed by nightly late-night fireworks shows than a vacant lot. Although, which one is probably better for the community as a whole is a different argument.

Plus, I think here's a difference between complaining about what exists and complaining about changes (presumably for the worse). But I think both are well within the rights of the people who make up the community. It's why we vote. It's why we have town meetings. The people decide how they would like their community to exist and change.

Homeowners can't do whatever they like - if the residents near Dorney set off a full blown fireworks show every night at 10, their neighbors are gonna be pissed. Why doesn't Dorney have that same responsibility as a member of the same community?

And there's plenty of scenarios where someone might choose to (have to?) live near an amusement park, but not be entirely happy about it. It's really not as simple as, "If you don't like it, don't move there."


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Monday, May 20, 2013 1:27 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Perhaps they can reach some type of compromise; not a nightly show, but certain days of the week (i.e., weekends).

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Monday, May 20, 2013 1:41 PM

Having lived and worked in the area for basically my whole life, I can tell you that many of the houses close enough to Dorney to actually have it matter are older houses (more solid, better insulated against sound). Plus, the average age of the people living in these houses is much older. Not so many children or even middle aged people living that close. I know it is kind of heinous, but many of these houses are inhabited by people who are probably half or fully deaf. Not saying this makes it okay, but it is just something else I'm throwing out there.

But like I said, Dorney is constantly "spit on" by the board for all sorts of things, and while I can see where the lateness of the shows is a concern, there is nothing the park can do that the board won't fight tooth and nail about. Dorney has been there before any of these people were born, it brings in a large source of tourist crowds, and it is still somehow considered a huge nuisance. The attitude has shifted somewhat to a more positive one, but there's no way the fireworks would fly, even if they weren't in a populated area.


"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

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Monday, May 20, 2013 2:09 PM

This reminds me of a video my friend made years. His friend lived "across the street" from the park. So they're videotaping themselves making bacon and eggs for breakfast, then he pans to the window and you see Hercules dropping down the big drop and hurtling around that giant lake curve. Of course, in the video he's excited because they are getting ready to head to the park (Hercules was new), but I could see the noise being too much.

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Monday, May 20, 2013 5:31 PM
Superstew's avatar

In situations like this, I always like to refer back to a George Carlin piece:

He was talking about people who choose to live or build their house(s) next to an active volcano and then wonder why they have lava in their living room ...

It does seem like a head scratcher from a common sense stand point - kind of a "what were you thinking?" scenario.

Of course, going by this logic then, I guess it does boil down to a 'who was there first,' argument - which I'm not sure what that's going to solve.

Last edited by Superstew, Monday, May 20, 2013 9:01 PM
Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions !
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Monday, May 20, 2013 10:31 PM
sws's avatar

Superstew said:

Of course, going by this logic then, I guess it does boil down to a 'who was there first,' argument

I'm guessing the volcano??

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Monday, May 20, 2013 10:38 PM
rollergator's avatar

Can't wait for the civil court case: Joe v. Volcano.

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Monday, May 20, 2013 10:42 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Superstew said:

Of course, going by this logic then, I guess it does boil down to a 'who was there first,' argument...

So the neighborhood was there before the nightly fireworks show.

Edited to add - (winky, smiley and stuff)

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, May 20, 2013 10:43 PM
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6:02 AM
Superstew's avatar

Well then where's my semicolon and parenthesis ?? :(

I really needed a visual there, Lord ! *giggle*


Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions !
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013 10:28 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

I don't really know why a park like Dorney needs to do nightly fireworks in the first place. I can see a resort or destination park adding that touch to the end of a day, but a regional park doesn't strike me as needing that.

They could leverage the fireworks more by having special fireworks nights, too, like the ballparks do. But like so many things, if every day is special enough for fireworks, then none of them are.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013 10:37 AM

Personally, less fireworks are better. The only firework show I've enjoyed has been at the Beast. It was 4th of July weekend and we lined up for the beast at 10:00 PM and watched the 10:00 firework show that lasts from 10:00 PM-10:20 PM. The firework show is right next to the Beast, so it is shut down then, but I knew of the rush of people who come to the Beast after the firework show to get their night ride. We eventually got on at 11:15 PM only to realize that we had time to get a night ride on D-Back too. I concluded that The Beast night ride was the most fun experience of my life, and I was shivering out of over exposure to awesome for the next half hour. D-Back was icing on the cake.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013 10:37 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I always assumed those late "close out" activities and shows were to keep people in the park longer.

Guest: "Enh. We're getting kind of bored, but there is that fireworks show later. Let's just eat here and stay for the show instead of going to McDonald's on the way home."


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013 10:45 AM
Carrie J.'s avatar

I think you're probably right, Andy. I just can't see a 7-8 minute show that happens every night having that kind of impact, especially at Dorney.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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