For months, the Stacy City Council has fielded resident complaints of noise coming from Royal Concrete and Pipe. Nov. 12, it was relatively quiet. Historically, business and noise slow down at Royal Concrete during the fall and winter.
Stacy City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer was dispatched to research noise nuisance ordinance standards. The council has sought to incorporate Minnesota Rule 7030, which sets standards for both daytime and nighttime hours into city ordinance.
Grundhoefer explained that noise itself might not be the sole measure. Under the law, there is “private nuisance” and “public nuisance.” In private nuisance matters, one party feels infringed upon by another party. Any private landowner can pursue private nuisance action against another landowner.
In public nuisance matters, this encompasses action to be brought by a city. Public nuisance generally impacts the public in general, Grundhoefer explained. The city must address whether the nuisance affects the whole public and if there are circumstances where a private nuisance may escalate to a public nuisance.
Mayor Mark Utecht announced that based on the number and frequency of complaints received, he had authorized the purchase of a sound meter. City maintenance department staff, City Building and Code Inspector Jack Kramer and the mayor were trained to take readings.
Maintenance supervisor Tanner Jones took readings during the day, and the mayor reported he had gone out and taken readings “during the wee hours of the night.” All readings at Royal Concrete and Pipe were taken in one-hour measurement periods and were below the frequency level that according to Rule 7030 would constitute a nuisance. One resident who had complained of the noise level responded that there hasn’t been excessive noise recently.
Utecht said, one morning, he was out taking noise readings between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
“And the plant wasn’t making noise, but the freeway was exceeding the L10 number.”
“Is it our responsibility to do this?” Councilor Charles Lucia asked.
Utecht said he thought it was an appropriate response to the complaints the city received. Grundhoefer validated this, advising the Sheriff’s Office may issue a tag for a criminal violation based on the reading and the equivalent nuisance factor. The city could only issue a tag for a civil violation.
Utecht said none of the readings that he took came close to violating Rule 7030. The conclusion is that the city finds no evidence at this time that Royal Concrete is in violation of the rule. Utecht also stated pointedly that at no time has the council ever stated that Royal Concrete was in violation.
The readings that were taken are public information and residents can request those readings along with notes taken regarding what was seen and heard. The mayor plans to present the readings that were taken to Royal Concrete management in order for them to understand at what point noise levels are considered excessive.