Never mind on nuisance change

Parking lot sweepers and vacuum cleaner trucks will continue to be able to operate in Oak Harbor unhampered by any new city codes.

The Oak Harbor City Council last week decided to follow staff’s recommendation and pass an amendment to the city code that doesn’t address noise from maintenance machinery.

The issue came up after a neighbor of the Albertsons store complained about a parking lot sweeper operating before 7 o’clock in the morning.

The city’s current noise code contains prohibitions on all sorts of noises, from singing to the keeping of a loud bird, but not maintenance vehicles. Construction machinery, for example, cannot run between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Noting that such noises may affect many more people as homes are being built near the shopping complex, City Attorney Phil Bleyhl originally proposed an amendment preventing the operation of such machines from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., if they can be heard more than 150 feet from the property.

Bob Drennen, the store director of Albertsons, complained to the council about the proposal. He said the sweeper needed to operate before 7 a.m. because the lot starts to fill up afterward.

As a result, council members tabled the issue to give staff a chance to look into it further. The issue returned to the council last week.

In the meantime, City Administrator Paul Schmidt contacted the parking lot sweeping contractor, who was willing to change the hours of operation.

“They were not aware there were problems to the extent there were,” he said.

The contractor agreed to operate from about 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Council members noted that these hours are later than the proposed amendment would have allowed. They also were concerned that the person who complained about the noise wasn’t notified about the meeting and the proposal.

“It seems to me we’ve got an automatic complaint coming,” Councilman Jim Campbell said.

Paul Schmidt, city administrator, however, urged the council not to pass any regulations that aren’t necessary.

“We’re urging and encouraging the City Council to try this first,” he said.

The council agreed and passed only minor amendments to the wording of the nuisance noise ordinance.

You can reach News-Times reporter Jessie Stensland at or call 675-6611.

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