WALKER -- Cass County should watch more closely whether county staff is equipped and trained to enforce ordinance provisions before enacting them, Environmental Services Director Paul Fairbanks advised the county board Tuesday.
He told the board he realized he neither had sufficient equipment, nor training in July to measure noise levels adequately to enable the county attorney to successfully argue a case in court with evidence he might collect.
The discovery followed a complaint the county received from Merton Jones concerning noise levels Moondance Jam has produced the last nine years.
Jones lives within a half mile of Moondance Fairgrounds where Bill Bieloh has produced annual outdoor four-day rock concerts. Jones began writing to Bieloh about his objections to noise levels in June.
July 12, as the jam opened, Jones wrote to Fairbanks reporting his own measurement of 80 decibels of sound on his residential deck across Turtle Lake from Moondance property.
Fairbanks said he borrowed a decibel meter from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in Brainerd. However, information provided with that meter indicated Fairbanks also needed accurate devices for measuring wind speed, humidity, barometric readings and other weather conditions indicators.
Fairbanks told the board he did not feel adequately trained to make the technical measurements to the degree of accuracy MPCA instructions indicated he should.
Sound pressure levels must be measured as they radiate from a source, according to the county's public nuisance ordinance.
The current Cass ordinance stipulates permitted noise levels for residential areas between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. should be in the 50 to 55 decibel level, with commercial areas permitted 55 to 60 decibels.
From 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., the ordinance sets 40 to 45 decibel levels for residential and 55 to 60 for commercial.
"It looks like we should consider what is enforceable when me make ordinances," Commissioner Joanne Pels said.
The board referred the issue to the citizen advisory committee for environmental services to seek a recommendation on whether to train and equip ESD staff to enforce this existing noise level provision or delete it.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.