Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2006

City council approves new noise ordinance

October 26, 2006

Nearly eight months after city prosecutor Catalina Thompson was asked to rewrite the city's noise ordinance, Lansing City Council approved the new policy at its Oct. 19 meeting.

Two council members dissented. Council member Andi Pawlowski said allowing construction crews to begin at 6 a.m. allows too much noise in early mornings, while Council member Harland Russell disliked the language that outlines the measurement of noise disturbances.

Despite their concerns, the ordinance will go into effect.

The ordinance states that noise must be measured either from 25 feet from the boundary of private property or by using a sound level meter. It establishes noise disturbances as a violation of an unclassified misdemeanor and a maximum penalty for noise disturbance at $1,000 or one month in jail, or both. The ordinance does not hinder the operation of lawn and garden equipment or the repair of vehicles or homes, so long as the activities occur during the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Thompson based the ordinance on Wichita's policy, but adapted it specifically for Lansing. It is intended to facilitate action against noisy residents, while making specific exceptions for summertime construction crews, which are also bound by the 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. time period.

At a previous meeting, Council member Don Studnicka had said the previous ordinance was almost ineffective in enabling residents to affect noisy neighbors, and hoped the new ordinance would remedy the situation.

In other action, the council:

¢ Approved, 8-0, minutes from the Oct. 5 meeting.

¢ Held a public hearing on the city's plans for construction of the Bittersweet Street extension. No residents voiced opinions on the project.

¢ Heard a proclamation by Mayor Ken Bernard declaring Oct. 28, 2006 as Military Retiree Appreciation Day.

¢ Watched Bernard present an award to Janette Labbee-Holdeman in gratitude for 13 years of volunteer service to the city's Convention and Tourism Committee.

¢ Watched Bernard present an award to Jeff Focht naming him as the Employee of the Fourth Quarter. City Administrator Mike Smith commended Focht for his extra efforts helping with city festivals and for the time and money he saves the city by maintaining equipment at the city shop.

¢ Heard a presentation by Laura Phillippi, site supervisor for Lansing Historical Museum. Phillippi reported that as of Oct. 5, 930 people have visited the museum from 24 states and Germany.

¢ Approved, 8-0, a motion to accept the treasurer's report for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

¢ Approved, 7-1, with Council member Kenneth Ketchum opposed, a resolution declaring the city's intent regarding the improvement of Bittersweet Street, including the addition of a bridge. Ketchum stated that he had sworn he wouldn't support the creation of a benefit district, and would abide by his word.

¢ Approved, 7-1, with Ketchum opposed, to remove the turn-around on Hithergreen Drive except for the area currently used for access to the driveway of 450 Hithergreen Drive. The turn-around was made obsolete by the street's extension through Hillbrook Subdivision.

¢ Approved, 8-0, a motion to contract with McAfee, Henderson and Strick Inc., for design and plan preparation for the 9-D sanitary sewer interceptor and authorize Bernard to sign the contract.

¢ Went into executive session to discuss real estate purchase and legal issues and then approved, 8-0, a motion to continue negotiations on Towne Center.

¢ What time in the morning should construction crews be able to begin work in residential areas of the city? Answer the poll question at lansingcurrent.com.

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