Request for a Variance to Allow Early Morning Operation of a Street Sweeper
|Meeting Date:||June 20, 2006||Primary Staff Contact:||James Olson|
|Department:||Public Works / Engineering||Email:||email@example.com|
|Contributing Departments:||Legal||Secondary Staff Contact:||Mike Morrison|
|Estimate Time:||15 minutes|
The Public Works Department operates two vacuum street sweepers Monday through Thursday between the hours of 4:00 AM and 12:00 PM. The 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM operations are confined to commercial zones and to arterial and major collectors with high traffic volumes. The sweepers exceed the allowable decibel levels specified under AMC Section 9.08.170 and a variance is being requested.
The City's street sweepers are in operation four days a week throughout the entire year. In general, the citizens of Ashland have high expectations regarding the cleanliness of their streets and demand that street surfaces by maintained in pristine condition. The current weekly schedule of sweeping is:
Monday - sweep downtown areas, Winburn Way, Plaza area, East Main Street and Walker Avenue. Residential areas after 7:00 AM.
Tuesday - sweep North Main Street, Lithia Way, Maple Street and "A" Street. Residential areas after 7:00 AM.
Wednesday - sweep Highway 66, Tolman Creek Road and Normal Avenue. Residential areas after 7:00 AM.
Thursday - sweep Siskiyou Boulevard, East Main Street and the Railroad District (commercial section). Residential areas after 7:00 AM.
Second Tuesday of each month - sweep all City parking lots.
Third Tuesday of each month - sweep all bike paths.
During the past fiscal year (2004-05) a total of 6,546 miles of streets were swept with a total of 8,316 miles traveled in the process. A total of 3,098 cubic yards of debris were removed from City streets, bike paths and parking lots. All bike paths and parking lots were swept twelve times during the year. Our experience over the past years has demonstrated the necessity of sweeping high traffic areas and commercial zones during the early hours of the morning prior to the arrival of delivery and service vehicles and employees. Our sweeping schedule is similar to many cities in Oregon as shown on the following table:
The nominal operating speed for a street sweeper is 10 miles per hour. This ensures a thorough pickup of debris, but can provide frustrating traffic delays during busy traffic hours. Most cities find it nearly impossible to sweep busy arterial streets or commercial areas after 7:00 AM. In residential areas the opposite is true as streets tend to have less on-street parking during normal work hours.
AMC Section 9.08.170 states that "sustained noise levels shall be reduced by 5 dBA during the hours of 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM." Following is a comparison of the noise levels generated by several types of vehicles:
Although our sweeping schedule has remained unchanged for years, recently a citizen complaint has prompted the evaluation of our operations and has culminated in a formal request for a variance in the specified hours of operations due to noise parameters.
|Related City Policies:|
AMC Section 9.08.170A establishes acceptable noise levels within the City limits. It states that:
9.08.170A No person shall make, assist in making continue or cause to be made any loud disturbing or unnecessary noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, safety or peace of others.
9.08.170B The standard for judging loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises shall be that of an average, reasonable person with ordinary sensibilities after taking into consideration the character of the neighborhoods in which the noise is made and the noise is heard.
9.08.170C Any source of noise which exceeds the following standards is considered a public nuisance:
Under Section 9.08.170C(5) the Council is authorized to grant a variance to the Decibel Noise Standards when it finds that strict compliance with the ordinance would cause an unusual and unreasonable hardship to a commercial or industrial use.
Although the sweepers do exceed the specified noise level of 55 dBA it is not a sustained noise level and the duration is much less than the allowed exceedence of 1% of the time (approximately 15 minutes). (A sweeper traveling at 10 miles per hour covers 880 feet per minute therefore a sweeper would be adjacent to the average width lot for less than 9 seconds.)
For commercial or industrial operations which violate the noise standards a public hearing is required. We have interpreted AMC 9.08.170(5) to require notification of adjacent residential structures within 200 feet of stationary noise producers. The use of the sweeper does not meet this requirement as its use is transitory. Therefore, except for the complainant to whom we have mailed notice, we have only provided notice by publication in the newspaper.
Council may grant the Public Works Department a variance to operate its street sweepers between the hours of 4:00 AM to 12:00 PM with the hours of 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM reserved for operation within the Central Business District, commercial / industrial areas, and arterial and major collector streets. Operation on neighborhood residential streets to be limited to the hours between 7:00 AM and 12:00 PM.
Council may decline to grant a variance for early hour operation.
Staff recommends approval of the request for a variance to allow operation of the street sweeper during the hours between 4:00 AM and 12:00 PM with the hours of 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM reserved for operation within the Central Business District, commercial and industrial areas and on arterials and major collectors.
Council may move to grant a variance to the noise ordinance to allow operations of street sweepers as recommended by staff;
Council may move to deny the request for variance;
Council may move to grant the variance to the noise ordinance with other qualifying statements.
Click on the PDF file below to view the following attachments:
• Letter from Lars D. Svendsgard of February 22, 2006
The above document(s) are Adobe® Acrobat® PDF files and may be viewed using the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™. Most newer web browsers already contain the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ plug-in. However, if you need it, click on the "Get Acrobat® Reader™" icon to download it now.