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Asphalt company agrees to city’s terms after neighborhood noise complaints

Posted at 7:15 AM, Oct 31, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-31 07:15:10-04

SPRINGFIELD, Mich. -- After neighborhood noise complaints, an asphalt company has agreed to follow the city's ordinances.

Earlier this month, the FOX 17 Problem Solvers were contacted by homeowner Mark Opala, who lives on A Avenue. He said Lakeland Asphalt, which dumps torn up pavement just across the street from his home, was working at all hours of the day, even though the city ordinance calls for operating hours between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

"Right now, they're within 100 feet of our front door," Opala said.

Opala said the issue has been ongoing for several years and that the city did nothing to keep Lakeland Asphalt from ignoring the ordinance.

FOX 17 took the issue to City Manager Nathan Henne. He said he sat down with Lakeland Asphalt's owners after talking with FOX 17, and they are now agreeing to only operate during those designated times.

"They are true to form after that meeting," Henne said. "I had no reason to believe that they weren't going to help out with this."

However, Opala said he's not convinced it's a long-term fix.

"Right now, they don't have the workload to justify working outside the ordinance," Henne said. "I think that if they get the business, which they will next year, they're going to be right back to what they've been doing for the last five years."

Henne said that concern is understandable, considering how much work Lakeland Asphalt gets during the warmer months. "That's going to be a challenge, but those times are set for a reason," Henne said. "We draw the line at our ordinances."

Aside from the hours Lakeland Asphalt will operate, Opala said there's another issue. He said the constant noise is too much, even though it will now only be occurring during designated hours.

He said he's lived in his home for nearly 30 years and that things only got bad in the past five when the company expanded in front of his home.

However, Henne said there's not much than can be done in that regard. An ordinance map in Henne's office shows Lakeland Asphalt has the right to be there, even though the business is located just feet from homes.

"If you had to do this all over again, I wouldn't do it, just because they are so close," Henne said. "The ordinance says you have to have a buffer zone between industrial areas and residential areas. Well, the street counts as a buffer."

While the road separating business from homes does little to decrease the noise, the city is also ordering a decibel reader to make sure Lakeland Asphalt isn't in violation of any other ordinances, Henne said.

"During the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., you can run about 65 decibels, and that's a little louder than a regular conversation we're having now," Henne said.