BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

September 15, 2009

10:00 a.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 9/20/2009

 

Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Carol Berg Caldwell, Eugene, said she was concerned about early releases of dangerous criminals due to alleged overcrowding.  She believed the Board did the right thing to request more understanding on how the capacity based release program functions.  She asked how a problem could be corrected if there is little understanding about how it works.  She indicated that despite the request for the report, she heard the Sheriff has directed his staff to not provide this.  She believed transparency would go a long way to help in this goal of a successful public safety tax measure.  She asked the Board why this important information is being denied to a community that has been frightened by media reports about early inmate releases.  She commented that they are left hanging with no solid information.  She said they deserve and need understanding and clarification.  She said the community needs transparency and information for their peace of mind and to restore better trust in the public safety system.  She commented that transparency is a win-win for all.

 

3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE

 

Fleenor stated that he is an advocate of transparency.  He believes a higher level of transparency creates trust.  He indicated that in the process of trying to get to the truth with capacity based releases, they have to be careful because they could do more harm than good to the public process.  He said they are exploring what is going on.  He requested the Board add onto the Executive Session a discussion on the capacity based release system.

 

Dwyer agreed that tomorrow they could discuss this in Executive Session so they don’t prejudice any position.

 

Handy was in agreement with Fleenor and Dwyer.

 

 

 

4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. REPORT/Travel Lane County Semi-Annual Report.

 

Kari Westlund, Travel Lane County, gave her semi-annual report. (Copy in file).

 

Stewart asked Spartz to report back on how the reduction in transient room tax affects money going to the Lane Events Center and Parks.

 

6. ONE PAGER REPORTS

 

a. Florence Salmon Trout Enhancement Program (STEP)/Interagency Cooperation.

 

Tom Peterson, STEP, gave a power point presentation on the Florence Salmon Trout Enhancement Program.

 

b. Excessive Industrial Noise and Lack of Noise Regulation Enforcement.

 

Gerald Schimmel recalled in 1974 the DEQ passed a Quiet Communities Act to encourage cities and counties to adopt regulations to cover noise sources not covered by state regulations.  He reported that Lane County added noise regulations to the Lane Code and at that time industrial and commercial noise pollution was deferred to the DEQ that enforced noise regulation on industry and commerce.  He noted in 1991 because of a lack of funding, DEQ suspended its enforcement of state regulations but the regulations are still in effect and are enforced by other agencies like the Department of Energy.  He said it left industry and commerce in a loophole of non-enforcement with no state agency to enforce the regulations.  He commented that it was time that Lane County did housekeeping to Lane Code to close the loophole of non-enforcement to protect the livability of the County and health and welfare of the citizens.  He indicated that noise is a health threat that affects hearing and sleep and heart rate and blood pressure.  He reported that excessive industrial and commercial noise are currently exempt from enforcement of the law but is not exempt from causing adverse health affects and lowering property values and the livability of the County.  He thought the revision of Lane Code would give enforcement of noise pollution of industry and commerce to the County and it will improve the livability of the County.  He commented that enforced industrial and commercial noise pollution regulations will bring equity back into the law.  He indicated that currently industry and commerce can make unlimited noise 24 hours a day but a church must comply with a noise code.  He commented that all violators of pollution law should be held accountable.  He asked the Board to amend the Lane Noise Code to correct the problem and make it a safer and more livable place to be.

 

Schimmel noted that agriculture, timber harvesting and construction organizations are exempt from state law.  He re-wrote his change to state that this exception does not apply to sounds produced by commerce and industry.  He indicated that this has caused a bad situation in the neighborhood.  He sent in a petition with signatures asking that something needed to be done.  He said he has noise levels in the front of his house above 80 decibels.  He indicated that a new company came in and they are making the noise.  He said they need someone to enforce the regulations that have already been set.  He indicated that Lane Code included commercial and industrial noise in the exemption along with agriculture, timber and construction, whereas the state law is separate because these is not a temporary or seasonal noise source, it is a 24 hour a day noise source.

 

Stewart said he inquired and found out that Lane County doesn’t enforce this.  He thought because the state is not enforcing the noise, the County might have the ability to do something.  He recommended that they have staff take this request to do research and report back to the Board with an adjustment to the code.

 

Dwyer recalled that he has dealt with this issue on a number of occasions.  He indicated the County doesn’t have the resources to patrol noise complaints.  He thought they could pass an ordinance to give citizens the right to a private action. 

 

Sorenson thought this was part of their overall discussion about what they could do about health and safety issues in the County when they are struggling with money.  He said there is a need for some action.  He indicated that they have been working on a series of civil enforcements, fining people for doing things that are against public safety and public health.  He thought they could fold this into their overall review.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 11:55 a.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary