October 1, 2013
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Crest Hill, Illinois, a municipality of 20,000 people located 35 miles southwest of Chicago, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for allowing the recent opening of two truck docks within 300 feet of a residential area. There is constant, piercing noise from forklift “safety” beeps, the loud banging of forklifts dropping loads, metal scraping, the overhead PA system, and frequent truck horn beeping. The relentless pounding of noise from the trucking operations indicates the city government’s callous indifference to the right of its residents for peace and quiet.
On August 16, 2013, the city of Crest Hill allowed two trucking firms, Old Dominion and Dayton Freight, to build and begin 24/7 operations, with 200 semi tractor-trailers operating daily, within 90 feet of residents’ windows.
Dave Swanson, a resident of Crest Hill, noted that “the city failed to conduct an environmental impact study prior to allowing these companies to build and begin operations. The city has refused to conduct professional monitoring to determine sound levels emanating from the trucks and operation noises, preferring to have police officers occasionally run past the operations and take meaningless decibel readings.”
Swanson stated that the constant noise is unbearable: “Trucks idle, gear up and rattle within 90 feet of my bedroom windows, at the newly installed traffic signals, making undisturbed sleep an impossibility for the past two months.” Dennis Vanderplow, another Crest Hill resident, stated that “the booming of dropping the trailers and the truck horns as they enter the facility is very annoying and an excessive noise nuisance.”
Swanson and Vanderplow, along with their neighbors, have experienced tremendous frustration not only from the excessive noise, but also from the reaction they have received from public officials. The dispatcher at the non-emergency phone center stated there is “nothing we can do.” Vanderplow stated that “attending City Council meetings, calling our city officials and endless conversation between residents have exhausted us all.”
Vanderplow and Swanson noted that the city of Crest Hill is ignoring its own noise ordinance, refusing to issue citations to the companies while they continually violate the ordinance on a daily basis.
Crest Hill Ordinance: Section 9.42.035, states:
“PROHIBITED. Any loud noise, whether created manually or through any type of equipment, machinery, or other device, which occurs after the hour of 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursday or 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday and before 6:30 am Monday through Friday or 8:00 am Saturday and Sunday, which can be heard at a distance of 100 feet from the epicenter of location from which the noise is generated, is declared to be a nuisance.”
The trucking operations allowed by the city of Crest Hill also violate the Illinois Administrative Code:
Section 900.102: Prohibition of Noise Pollution.
“No person shall cause or allow the emission of sound beyond the boundaries of his property, as property is defined in Section 25 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, so as to cause noise pollution in Illinois, or as to violate any provision of this Chapter.”
Vanderplow and Swanson stated that Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman continues to provide lip service to the need for peace and quiet, while actually doing nothing. The residents have also received little to no support from their own alderman, who supports business interests above quality of life considerations. Swanson stated that “one of the aldermen, Charles Convery, has been aloof, distant and indifferent, demonstrating rude and unprofessional behavior toward the affected residents. At times, Convery has passionately defended the trucking firms.”
Vanderplow concluded, “Crest Hill residents have experienced damage to their quality of life, peaceful existence, air quality, and home values. The city of Crest Hill allowed these two companies to build, open, and operate the trucking operations without proper due diligence. Now the city of Crest Hill has a responsibility to implement effective sound abatement measures, to protect the right of citizens to peace and quiet.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, commented that “what’s happening in Crest Hill is disgraceful. City hall officials are clearly more concerned with generating tax revenue from noisy businesses than preserving the city’s quality of life. City officials should do everything possible to protect the right of citizens to sleep at night and peacefully enjoy their property.”