For the week of August 26 thru September 1, 1998  

Dust, dirt, noise ruins Sun Valley summers

Express Staff Writer

26noise.gif (10351 bytes)Huge trucks filled with dirt leave the Sunpointe and Crown Ranch subdivisions. The noise, the dust and the noise brought residents before the Sun Valley City Council to voice their concerns. (Express photos by Kathryn Beaumont)

The trucks begin rumbling up Elkhorn Road, sometimes before the sun is up over the hills. And then there’s the dust, the dirt and then more noise.

It is enough to ruin a perfectly good Sun Valley summer, according to residents who voiced their complaints at Thursday’s Sun Valley City Council meeting.

"I live there and I’m old and I’d like to sleep past 6:15," said Beverly Reeves, a resident of Morning Star Road who said she is woken up by the sound of trucks at least five days a week.

"Those folks are young and vigorous, and they don’t give a damn," said Reeves.

Two current development projects are posing a particular problem for residents: the Sunpointe and Crown Ranch subdivisions.

The construction will be ongoing for about another three years, said Doug Clemens, who is a planner for the projects.

Clemens also testified that the amount of dirt being hauled away from the building sites will fill thousands of trucks--literally.

"The Sunpointe construction has 3,700 yards of dirt," he said. "If a truck can hold 10 yards, that means thousands of trucks are grinding up and down Sun Valley’s roads."

The city is aware of the problem, but admits it needs to do a little more enforcing of rules and regulations.

Last week, Police Chief Cam Daggett held a weight inspection of the many trucks that could be damaging Sun Valley streets. Only one, he said, was over the weight-limit.

The city also responded on Thursday night by amending the noisy equipment ordinance.

26noise2.gif (13886 bytes)The proximity of the two developments to existing homes is causing neighbors distress.

A city ordinance prohibits construction between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. A loophole in the noisy equipment ordinance, however, allowed engines and machinery to run starting at 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

The noisy equipment ordinance now matches the hours of the construction ordinance.

"There are no more warnings," said city administrator Bob Van Nort. "No matter what they weigh, the police department has been instructed to cite."

In addition, the council has asked city attorney Rand Peebles to look into a way to shut down construction if a builder receives more than one noise citation. The builder would have to appear before the council before he or she could start-up again.

Mayor Tom Praggastis also said that city staff will meet with the builders of Sunpointe and Crown Ranch to discuss ways to deal with the massive amounts of dust that residents say are coating their dining room tables, patios and cars.

"The hospital has ideas for how to handle their own dust and noise. I’ll contact them to see what they do," Praggastis said.


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