During the public comment time at the July 9 Stacy City Council meeting, Stacy resident Tim Friberg addressed a topic he’s discussed at past council meetings: issues with noise from Royal Concrete Pipe.
Friberg said the noise has gotten worse since he first started complaining to the council about it. The council learned that the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office has been dispatched twice in the past week, once at 3 a.m., and cautioned Royal Concrete staff about the noise.
Stacy Mayor Mark Utecht has visited not only the neighboring residential area but also Royal Concrete management several times over the past two years. Utecht has attempted to mediate the noise issue, but his requests for compliance with city ordinances have fallen on deaf ears. The council has now established that Royal Concrete is operating outside of the city’s ordinances. City Building and Code Inspector Jack Kramer has been called in to assist.
Utecht requested citizens document the source of the complaints. He also recommended Friberg contact the Sheriff’s Office directly, as deputies have the equipment to take a sound reading.
“Tell them what’s going on because that’s the only way it’s going to get addressed that has any teeth,” Utecht said. He added he would have liked to have mediated the dispute successfully but admitted that, as soon as he leaves, Royal Concrete resumes their business as usual and the noise resumes.
Friberg didn’t come alone to this meeting. Neighbor Teri Kaslow spoke to the council on the issue as well. Kaslow stated she and her family are awakened consistently at 3 a.m. and not just during the past week. She stated this has gone on for the past several years.
“We need help,” Kaslow said.
Paul and Sandy Witkowski live on Fernwood Circle directly behind Royal Concrete. Sandy Witkowski said she has called the Sheriff’s Office about the noise. Upon arriving at around 1 a.m., the deputy requested Royal Concrete cease the noise. Witkowski said workers did this, taking the work inside, however when the deputy left, the work and the noise resumed. In her follow-up with law enforcement, she was advised all residents in their development need to file complaints with the city. Both she and her husband have spoken to the Royal Concrete management.
“To sit and talk about being a good neighbor isn’t working,” Sandy Witkowski said. “We have jobs; we have to go to work during the day. When does it stop?”
Utecht confirmed the issue isn’t that the noise hasn’t been addressed.
“It didn’t get any results,” Utecht said.
He acknowledged a dilemma in that he doesn’t want to antagonize a tax-paying business nor does he want the neighborhood to suffer. Councilor Charles Lucia called for a special meeting with the city attorney, the Sheriff’s Office and the council.
“We have to figure out a way to get something done here,” he said. “We’re not here for the businesses, we’re here for the people of the city.”
Neighbor Tom Sampson described his residence as “right down the road” from Royal Concrete. He thought the city has the authority to require at least a sound fence.
Utecht said the city could consider changing the ordinance.
Paul Witkowski questioned how the nuisance ordinance works. Utecht explained that the city would have to pursue enforcement through Kramer and the Sheriff’s Office. Utecht explained he has held meetings with both Royal Concrete management and the Sheriff’s Office about this possibility. Utecht said he is aware law enforcement has been called regarding the noise and requested that Sheriff Rick Duncan be asked to meet with the council, residents and representatives of Royal Concrete.
“I’m frustrated with the situation, also; everything I’ve tried has failed,” Utecht said.
After his neighbors had departed, there was a comment from one dissenting resident. He questioned the motivation for the complaints and said that Royal Concrete had been in operation there prior to the housing development being constructed. Of the noise, he said, “Get used to it.”