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<br />M I N U T E S <br /> <br /> <br />Eugene City Council <br />Work Session <br />McNutt Room—Eugene City Hall <br /> <br /> August 16, 2006 <br /> Noon <br /> <br />COUNCILORS PRESENT: Jennifer Solomon, Bonny Bettman, David Kelly, Andrea Ortiz, Gary <br />Papé, George Poling, Chris Pryor, Betty Taylor. <br /> <br /> <br />Her Honor Mayor Kitty Piercy called the meeting of the Eugene City Council to order. <br /> <br /> <br />A. WORK SESSION: Abatement of Noise Pollution <br /> <br /> <br />City Manager Dennis Taylor introduced Land Use Supervisor Mike McKerrow to discuss noise pollution. <br />He said the issue was raised by Ms. Taylor. <br /> <br />Mr. McKerrow stated that noise standards were mainly found in Chapter 4 of the Eugene Code (EC) and <br />were enforced by the Eugene Police Department (EPD). He said current requirements prohibit noise from <br />amplified music, construction, lawn mowers and other sources during certain hours and the standards <br />include an exemption provision and variance process, which is used primarily for large construction <br />projects. He said that regulation of noise varied widely in other communities and standards could ban <br />products or activities altogether, limit hours of operation or duration or establish maximum decibel limits or <br />use a combination of those strategies. He related that research found few outright bans of mulch blowers <br />and leaf blowers. He noted that restricting the use of mulch and leaf blowers would have an impact on City <br />operations in parks, the downtown mall and elsewhere in the community. He said that Public Works and <br />Facilities Management had upgraded equipment and reduced noise levels from leaf blowers in recent years <br />and preliminary information on that was available to the council. He identified the special challenges <br />associated with enforcing noise standards, including the usual limited duration of the noise, availability of <br />staff and the inconsistent volume of the noise source. <br /> <br />Ms. Taylor agreed with the difficulty of enforcement when the source of the noise might be gone before staff <br />arrived, but she felt there was good cause for banning things such as leaf and mulch blowers that did bother <br />people. She said the ban on noise between certain hours did not recognize that people’s lives could be <br />disrupted by noise at times other than those for sleeping. She said that ever since a constituent initially <br />raised the issue she had heard similar concerns from many people. She questioned the usefulness of leaf <br />blowers and cited the problems created when leaves ended up in storm drains or neighboring property. She <br />did not feel it was necessary to inflict noise on people simply for the comfort or convenience of another <br />person. She said just because a law was difficult to enforce was not a reason to abandon it. <br /> <br />Ms. Ortiz said the issue for her represented a bigger picture because there were many things in the <br />community that made noise. She lived in an industrial area where residents would regard a leaf blower as a <br />minor noise source. She commented that many noise sources could not be stopped and she would not <br />support a ban on mulch and leaf blowers, but would support limiting the time of use. She said that leaf and <br />mulch blowers were part of today’s culture because people had less time; they were modern conveniences <br />that also represented businesses and jobs. <br /> <br />MINUTES—City Council August 16, 2006 Page 1 <br /> Work Session <br /> <br />