Quiet-List 1997

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Re: fighting dairy expansion

On Tue, 19 Aug 1997 21:18:39 -0400 (EDT), 
Sorrento95@aol.com  <Sorrento95@aol.com> wrote:

>A group of residents of my community has become
>distressed about the noise made by constantly-running
>refrigeration trucks at a local dairy.  The dairy borders
>on a residential area, and has bought up some residential
>property for expansion.   Residents of the area want to
>fight the expansion, which will mean more noise, but
>so far the city council has not been sympathetic to
>the residents.

   I've been listening in on this thread for a couple of days.  This 
is the first chance I've had to sit down and offer anything myself.

   I have no doubt that a fleet of constantly running refrigeration 
trucks would cause genuine and considerable annoyance in a residential 
neighborhood.  I was once stranded overnight at a turnpike rest stop 
and had to spend the night trying to get some sleep in my car while 
listening to the all-night rattling and rumbling of a dozen or more 
big diesel trucks with their engines idling.  It was a miserable 
experience which I hope will *never* happen again, let alone having to 
put up with it every night.    

  I still can't understand why truck drivers *always* leave their 
engines running during these overnight stops.  I think I remember 
someone telling me once that they thought it took more energy to get 
them started that it did to leave them running, but if this is their 
reason, then they need to be shown that it's a complete myth, just 
as untrue as the notion some people have that leaving a light on or 
computer running uses less energy than turning it off and on again. 
Then again, maybe they do it to power their air-conditioned sleeper 
cabins, I really don't know.

  With a refrigeration truck, the dairy will probably argue that they 
need to leave them running to keep the milk from spoiling.  But even 
*that* argument should be open to question.  Why, for instance, does 
the milk need to be kept cool in a truck idling in a parking lot?  
Wouldn't it make more sense to keep the milk cool *inside* and then 
load it when its ready to be shipped?  The likely answer will be that 
they don't have the indoor space and are simply using the parking lot 
as a cold storage facility.  In this case, it could be argued that the 
parking lot should be considered part of the commercial operation, 
which may kick in some zoning limit as to its size.      

   I doubt that using the noise level/decibel argument by itself will 
be enough to stop the expansion.  Even if the applicable local noise 
ordinance is stated in decibels, I doubt that it will exceed the 
stated limit unless you are very near the truck, say within 20 feet.     
The dairy will argue that they are within the law so long as the  
limit is not exceeded *beyond* their property line.  At worst, they 
might even try to split the opposition by arguing that the limits 
only apply *inside* the property boundaries of whoever complains, 
thus requiring a complete set of "official" measurements be taken 
for each individual property owner.  

   This is going to take a combined approach.  A well organized and 
committed community opposition with a variety of strategies.  Invoke 
the "good neighbor" argument.  That may help if they're still small 
enough to care about that sort of thing.  If they're already a big 
business, they'll try to portray themselves as the "good guys" with 
talk of more jobs and higher wages, trying to make the opposition 
look "anti-growth", "anti-business", even "anti-American".  In that 
case you'll need to more than match them in "meanness" because 
they'll already have 10-100 times your resources in terms of time and 
money.  But, being careful to stay just within the law, there are 
still a lot of possibilities.

David Staudacher - quiet@igc.org
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