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MN – ‘Nuisance Noise Ordinance approved by Chisago City Council

February 5, 2010

‘Nuisance Noise Ordinance approved by Chisago City Council; on-line reservation/registration reviewed

A large audience greeted the Chisago City Council at its meeting January 26. All but six Boy Scouts and their parents were present to comment on the proposed nuisance noise ordinance that the council has been debating. (The scouts were working on their Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge.)

Nuisance Ordinance Chapter 150 had its first reading two weeks ago by the council. On this night, several Lake Martha area residents, motorcycle ice racers, and a Becker, MN man a specialist in sound measurement, chose to make themselves heard during the public hearing.

One couple questioned why they pay such high property taxes if the council won’t listen to their concerns? Several lake residents threatened to pull up stakes and move from the city if this issue wasn’t dealt with seriously. And several people commented that they had been retaliated against since voicing their opinions. Some of the ice racers seemed to be “gunning” their engines, near the homeowners’ property.

Chisago City Fire Chief Bruce Peterson, who is an ice racer said that he had garbage thrown into his yard and nails put at the end of his driveway.

Jay Waalen of Becker, attended the meeting a second time to demonstrate how easy it is a use a decibel meter to determine a motorcycle’s noise level.

Plenty of research went into the council’s decision to unanimously approve the ordinance. Staff had spoken with the county attorney’s office, the Department of Natural Resources, Lakes Area Police Department, and consulted the state’s “Guide to Noise Control in Minnesota” over the last few years. Decibel levels relating to off-highway vehicles were also studied.

Two changes were made to the noise ordinance: the distance of 50 feet was removed from Section D, section 2 (numbers 1 & 2); the time designated allowing noise on the weekends was eliminated.

Although audience members were present to represent their stance on the weekend ice racing that takes place on Lake Martha, the noise ordinance will encompass other troubling noise complaints, such as “jake braking” by semi trucks on Hwy. 8, industrial use and other noise standards.

With the passing of this ordinance, the city will now have the ability to enforce noise violations utilizing trained city employees, police or others.

New software designed to allow on-line registration for reservations of facilities such as park pavilions, and the Community Center was discussed. Staff held a teleconference with Active Net to review their registration and reservation software. The program would also allow for ease in booking reservations for Camp Ojiketa.

Although the cost of the software is substantial at $6,900 for the initial purchase and a $3,000 annual fee, 4.49 percent of each registration fee would be applied as a credit towards the annual fee.

Administrator John Pechman said, “Although we are struggling to justify the hardware cost, we really like it.”

Also, the KiChiSaga 5K and the Turkey Trot 5K registrations could be completed utilizing the new software, generating revenue for the city.

Council members Marie Rivers thought that the software would pay for itself rather than paying a city employee to handle all of the different registrations and reservations. “We should go to the EDA and look into (other sources) for funds” to purchase the software, she suggested.

Council member Greg Freer added, “If it makes the (registration) process smooth for everyone, it’d be a good thing. If the DNR likes it, we could try it for a year. Everyone shops on-line. I think it’s very progressive. We’ll get more business if done on-line…it’s the wave of the future.” Skow agreed, and council member Larry Parker thought it best to get the Finance Committee together a few minutes before the next council meeting and discuss the software cost. Council voted to table the issue until February 9.

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