Amsterdam proposal aims to cut truck noise

Officials are considering another change to the city’s codes to try to alleviate noise pollution.

Officials are considering another change to the city’s codes to try to alleviate noise pollution.

Legislators, business owners and community members have long had to listen to noise or complaints about noise. Whether it’s the hum of machinery at the nearest factory, the racket of impact wrenches at the local garage or the loud blasts of the train horns that echo through the entire length of the city, no neighborhood is truly quiet.

The city’s noise ordinance already prohibits yelling and shouting, honking horns, construction between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and loud music. Now, legislators are considering the addition of combustion engine-powered refrigeration units to the list.

A new amendment to the ordinance was introduced at the Common Council’s June 1 meeting. The amendment would prohibit the use of combustion engine-powered refrigeration units in the city except for transportation and delivery and in the event of an emergency to keep perishables from spoiling.

Delivery is defined in the amendment as the unloading and loading of trucks and is limited to two hours.

The amendment was introduced by Alderwoman Julie Pierce, R-2nd Ward, after complaints by her constituents that Mohawk Dairy uses its refrigeration trucks for overnight storage.

Mohawk Dairy is a milk distributor that also operates a retail store at its Forest Avenue location. It distributes milk products to local school districts that need their shipments early in the morning, so it loads up trucks the night before and then runs the coolers on the trucks.

Owner Rich Rzeszatarski said the delivery trucks could not be loaded in the two-hour time frame allowable under the amendment. He said he didn’t think the company was doing anything wrong and it has operated the same way since 1962.

Alderman William Wills, D-4th Ward, said the entire city puts up with noise in one way or another. He said he would vote for the amendment, but he was worried that the city wouldn’t be able to enforce it.

Code enforcement is another long-running issue in Amsterdam. City officials eliminated the position of codes supervisor from the 2010-11 budget, which takes effect July 1, and put back a code enforcement officer position. The department will operate with three code enforcement officers, one building inspector, one housing inspector and one plumbing inspector, but no one to direct the department.

The department had been under the guidance of the city engineer until a codes supervisor was hired. As of July 1 the city will have neither position, as the position of city engineer was transformed through a charter change to a commissioner of public works position, which is vacant.

City officials are considering putting the department under the guidance of the fire chief, who would receive a stipend to run the additional department.

Officials are also scheduled to discuss that move Tuesday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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