While it’s not expected to be a cure-all, Spokane Valley City Council members hoped to give some relief to those plagued by the noise and smell of idling semis in the wee hours of the night.
At the Dec. 11 council meeting, an ordinance designed to regulate commercial vehicles in residential zones was passed 5-2, with Council Members Dean Grafos and Chuck Hafner voting no.
For months, city staff members have been crafting a new law that is designed to address concerns of city residents awaked by the sound of diesel engines warming up in the dead of night. While the new law won’t outright ban large commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods, it will hopefully curtail truck noise by allowing only a 15-minute idle time between 10 a.m. and 7 a.m.
That’s still too much, according to Hafner.
“So you can still be awaked at 2, 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning?” Hafner asked. “I just don’t understand that. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Language was also included regarding the operation of refrigeration units for commercial trucks and trailers.
Marilyn Cline, a former candidate for City Council, said that she has had trouble with a neighbor who drives and repairs large trucks for years. She said that there are engine warmers that can reduce the start-up times on diesel engines to two minutes. She also added that children and pets are in danger when semis are allowed to park in residential areas.
“I ask you to reconsider this ordinance,” she said. “Please think about what I’ve said.”
Tony Lazanis, a Spokane Valley resident who worked for years to quiet train whistles near his Trent Avenue business, said trucks are a nuisance.
“It’s a big problem,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels said the ordinance was probably the best one available.
Council Member Brenda Grassel agreed.
“What we trying to do is not punish those who follow the law,” she said. “I think we’re trying to find the right balance.”