By Kara Herlihy
Several sleep-deprived Moretown Village residents gathered at the December 15 Select Board meeting to express their general frustration with the new town garage and town sandpit across Route 100B.
Neighbors detailed the sleepless nights that, as they explained, were the result of the town truck's back-up alarms that beeped loudly and consistently throughout the night as the road crew loaded sand into town trucks.
Village resident Bob Mays told members of the select board that Sunday evening was the second night in a week with no sleep, and that the noise "is denying me my civil rights."
Neighbors reported that the loud beeping of the truck's back-up alarms was heard from approximately 8:30 p.m. to around 3 a.m., while the road crew made several trips to and from the sand pile on Route 100B.
"You're the ones that planned, promoted and applied for this, so you're the ones I'm going to complain to about it," Mays told select board members. Select board chair Don Wexler confirmed that when Mays did call to complain about the noise, he could hear the beeping noise over the phone.
Village resident Dennis Fekert offered his experience with back-up alarms and suggested that the town look into a white noise beeper system that sounds more like static as opposed to beeping. The noise created by the system does not carry, and would significantly lower the noise impact. The board thanked Fekert and said they would investigate the alarms.
"It is such an inappropriate place for a permanent construction site," explained village resident Dan Harris, who added that his family has had similar sleepless nights recently. Harris also said that he expects his property value has decreased as a result of the neighboring sand pile.
WHY SO MUCH SAND?
Residents queried the board as to why the town road crew uses so much sand, and the reasoning behind their all-night sanding that results in several trips back to the sand pile.
"They use too much sand, and I don't think they need to be out there in the middle of the night," Harris added. Other residents explained that other Valley towns only sand the troublesome and steep sections of roads, where Moretown sands the flats as well as the higher elevated roads.
WHO'S IN CHARGE?
Several residents asked, "Who's in charge of the road crew?" and complained that there is a lack of procedure for the loading of sand, resulting in the increased back-up alarm and additional trips to the sand pile.
"It's like they're boys playing with dump trucks," added one neighboring landowner.
Sharon Evans, also a village resident, expressed her concerns over the high-wattage outdoor and indoor lighting on the new town garage, which she says "completely illuminates" the inside of her home and stays on all night.
"I'm going to have to get blackout curtains. I could garden on my front lawn in the middle of the night," she said. Evans further explained that the lighting is "in direct violation of the town's zoning regulations" and asked how the town plans to deal with that violation.
According to the regulations, the town has seven days to respond and deal with the violation.
In reference to the indoor garage lighting, Evans said, "You could do surgery in there; it's complete overkill." She continued, "The impact was not supposed to be increased."
A TIMER SYSTEM
Austin explained that he had suggested to town road foreman Craig Elwell that a timer system would make sense, wherein the lights would go out at 10 p.m. Austin said that Elwell preferred that the lights stay on all night.
Residents also expressed their concern regarding a propane fuel tank that was left, temporarily, approximately 10 feet from the road, posing a serious safety risk if a collision occurred.
Austin explained that the tank was too full to move and that they were also waiting on some trees to be cut behind the garage where the tank will be placed permanently.
GOING TO FIX IT
Select board members said a similar situation occurred at the fire station, and the lighting issues were resolved.
Select board member Rae Washburn said, "We're going to fix it," and assured village residents that they will do all they can to resolve the issues associated with the new town garage.
Until a permanent solution is found, only the side door light will remain on, according to the town officials.