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Chatfield Discusses Enforcement of Noise Laws

Fri, Aug 16th, 2013
Posted in Chatfield Government

By Karen Reisner

At the Chatfield City Council’s August 12 meeting councilors considered the implications of enforcing Minnesota Statutes for muffler and motor vehicle noise limits. Councilor Ken Jacobson was absent.

Police Chief Shane Fox explained that recently there has been an uptick in the number of complaints of vehicle noise caused by ‘jake brakes’ on trucks coming into town from the south in the early morning. He said the state will put up signs stating “Vehicle Noise Laws Enforced” with the passage of a resolution committing the City of Chatfield to the enforcement of Minnesota Statutes for muffler and motor vehicle noise limits.

Statute 169.69 reads, “Every motor vehicle shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order which blends the exhaust noise into the overall vehicle noise and is in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise...”

City attorney Fred Suhler suggested they consult with trucking companies about the complaints. If trucks have straight pipes, coasting causes the noise referred to as ‘jake braking.’

The city would be required to pay for the signs which would cost about $200 at each location.

Councilor Paul Novotny said while he supports tapering off the early morning noise, the issue should go to committee for further discussion before a decision is made. Putting the signs up and enforcing the state statute will affect people with other vehicles including those who have motorcycles and vehicles with mufflers that would not allow them to blend in.

The police could enforce noise statutes without the signs. Novotny suggested they need to discuss which roads would need signs if they decided to have them installed. The Public Services Committee will discuss the issue further. City Clerk Joel Young said sending the issue to committee does not exclude enforcement in the mean time.

Other Business In Brief

•Approval was given to purchase a Ford Utility Interceptor (Explorer) for the police department at a cost of $27,801 from Fergus Falls Ford as recommended by the Public Services committee. The new vehicle will replace a 2005 Ford Expedition which had been scheduled for replacement in 2011.

•The mayor’s signature was authorized for the sale of a portion of Outlot B (.37 acres) to Gerald and Maureen Barry.

•The boundaries of Tax Increment Financing District 2-4, created in 1998, were amended legally. The TIF District included the Crystal Ballroom at the motel. As that contract has been satisfied, the parcels were removed. The TIF District will continue for other included parcels.

•Novotny reported that the Personnel, Budget committee had discussed the preliminary 2014 budget and the union contract.

•Councilor Robert Pederson reported a list of issues discussed at the Public Works Committee Meeting including the merger of McGhie and Betts with a company in the cities, the potential use of LED lighting in the city, the condition of sewer lines in the city, the replacement of trees downtown, preliminary plans for street and sewer improvements for 2014, and crosswalk signs to be put in on Hwy 52 and Hwy 30.

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