October 1, 2014
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: The Costco Wholesale store in Pharr, Texas has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for creating a constant noise nuisance, from delivery trucks, tractor-trailers, idling trucks, a trash compactor, and an exposed HVAC unit. The noise from Costco occurs round the clock.
Kenneth Fletcher, a veterinarian in Pharr, has led the fight against the intrusive, pounding noise from the Costo store. Dr. Fletcher notes that “the Costco receiving dock area is the source of 24/7, monotonous, very irritating, pure tone noise nuisance from the rooftop rows of exposed heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units running continuously. The unbuffered HVAC reminds us of a helicopter whirring on and on, hovering over our entire neighborhood. Those Costco HVAC units deprive us all of the full enjoyment of the outdoor portion of our private properties. They keep us from opening our own windows.”
In Pharr, there is also constant noise from Costco delivery trucks. Dr. Fletcher states that “fully-loaded Costco tractor-trailers roar down our street at a very close distance at all hours of the day and night, with their break shoes frequently making a loud squeak, producing their distinctive KA-CHEE, a most insidious, pernicious, impulse noise. It makes us fully awake and so upset we can’t even speak. This is just in time to hear and actually feel the vibrations of the rumbling BUMPTY-BUMP-BUMP–BUMPTY-BUMP-BUMP of each of the 18 noisy tractor-trailer tires. This bad, bad backbeat is beating our eardrums now and possibly forever.”
Another source of irritating noise: truck idling during delivery hours–and outside of delivery hours. Dr. Fletcher states that “a very reluctant Costco supervisor was finally cajoled into contacting a driver who continued to idle with both the trailer refrigeration and tractor engines in operation. The approximate 160-foot distance to our back bedroom causes a palpable vibration. We have lost countless hours of sleep because of continuous noise from Costco.”
Dr. Fletcher and his neighbors have attempted to communicate with the Costco general manager. “At first,” Fletcher states, “the Costco general manager agreed that it is indeed horrible to be awakened and kept awake by delivery trucks and tractor-trailers. The general manager agreed that steps should be taken to lessen the nightly noise nuisances from truck deliveries.
Area residents also asked the Costco general manager to instruct his employees to park on the opposite side of the building, so that residents would not be awakened by car honking tied to keyless entry systems. Fletcher notes that “the general manager’s response to this request was to jump up and storm off, informing me to contact city hall and only correspond with him by fax!”
Unfortunately, Pharr officials have done virtually nothing in response to the Costco noise nightmare. After submitting his first formal complaint to the police department, “the responding officer immediately told us to contact City Hall and took no further action.” Fletcher’s presentations during the public comment period of city council meetings have been met with silence. In addition, Dr. Fletcher delivered a petition containing hundreds of citizen signatures; this also generated no positive response from city officials. Instead, the city’s Director of Development told Fletcher, “You have to understand that Costo is a billion dollar corporation” which has the potential to improve the city’s fiscal health.
Dr. Fletcher concludes, “The city of Pharr places the word ‘citizen’ at the very top of their organization chart. According to the city charter, this means that the citizens, paying taxes, allow the bureaucrats to collect a salary. City hall employees are supposed to work for the tax-paying residents of the city of Pharr–and NOT against our interests. We are experiencing the classic clash of corporate fiscal health over our neighborhood’s physical and mental health concerns. While my neighbors and I support economic development, we are against businesses which produce constant noise and harm public health. The needs of citizens for peace and quiet must come first.”