Mission Hills City Council candidates on the issues: Noise pollution

Mission Hills

Candidates running for one seat on the Mission Hills city council discuss measures to reduce noise pollution from landscaping companies using mowers and leaf blowers. File image.

In August, we asked our readers about the issues you wanted to hear the candidates running for Mission Hills City Council address. Based on your feedback, we developed a three-item questionnaire touching on the most important issues to patrons of the district.

Each day this week, we will publish the candidates’ responses to one of five questions. Today, we are publishing candidates’ responses to the following question:

Some Mission Hills residents have complained about noise pollution from landscaping companies using mowers and leaf blowers. Would you support measures to reduce noise pollution? If so, what approach would you recommend?

Below are the answers the Post received from the candidates on this issue:

At-Large Seat

Bill Bruning (incumbent)

Bill Bruning headshot The City has tightened the days and hours landscapers can work, with a focus on
minimizing landscaping noise on weekends and early / late hours on weekdays.
Generally lawn maintenance machinery can be operated 8am-6pm Monday through
Saturday. In addition there are limits on the volume of noise generated by
machinery.

There will always be conflicts over the issues of noise among residents with different schedules and activities. I believe the current provisions strike a fair balance but am always open to suggestions for other approaches or responses to new technology.

Barbara Nelson

Barbara Nelson headshot

I agree that the noise from lawn companies has grown over the years. In the past I would not allow my yard man to use a riding lawn mower. It was too noisy and my lot is sloped and I worried about his falling off and injuring himself. These are real issues. But today it seems the every yard company, and there are many, has a trailer with multiple huge pieces of equipment. I passed three such rigs back to back on my street recently and it was impossible to pass without going into the oncoming lane of traffic. Part of Mission Hills charm is its winding streets, but that charm disappears when trying to safely pass the lawn and delivery vehicles who park with abandon.
Are we too generous with our operating times and noise levels. Who knows what 85 dB(A) sounds like. It is ok in the City to mow seven days a week from 8 am to 8pm if under that limit. Some of our regulations allow golf courses to start mowing at 6am, a bit too early for most residents. Many of our ordinances were written when sound was not as big a problem. It is time for us to review our regulations with more accurate data on neighbor complaints and then listen to actual sound levels. to judge whether our levels are too generous. I have urged our Council to review these regulations.

On Wednesday, we will publish the candidates’ responses to the following question:

What’s the biggest challenge facing Mission Hills today and what should the city council be doing to address it?