Not In My Back Yard Syndrome
Posted: May 24, 2013
I often make fun of those who get afflicted with the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) syndrome. Those are the people who are for economic growth so long as it doesn't come at the expense of their quality of life.
I felt a bit like I was getting a taste of my own medicine this week. But after considerable thought and some sleepless nights, I decided that my situation doesn't qualify as the NIMBY affliction.
I live in a relatively new subdivision called Lake Crest Estates in the Village of Lake Hallie. On the opposite side of 30th Avenue sits what used to be a fairly dormant sand pit. But over the course of the past few years, the sand pit has become more active - so much so that many in the neighborhood experienced some difficulty getting a good night's sleep this week.
The sand pit has been owned by American Materials for years prior to the establishment of Lake Crest Estates. When I appeared before the Village of Lake Hallie Plan Commission last spring expressing my displeasure with the noise, dust and bright lights that accompany the activity at the site, I was told that the owners of the sand pit and their conditional use permit were "grandfathered " and that the operators of the quarry can basically do whatever they want because they were there first.
When Onalaska,WI-based Mathy Construction acquired American Materials a few years ago, the question now becomes, "Who really owns the sand pit; and if Mathy is the new owner, don't they have to reapply for a conditional use permit? " I am also exploring whether the village's nuisance ordinance is being violated.
I spoke with Ron Brown, a division manager for American Materials/Mathy, who explained that the reason the sand pit is so active in the overnight hours is because the current user of the pit is contracted to do work at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. As a requirement of the federal government, all work done for airport facilities must be done after regular business hours.
There are obviously some simple things that can be done to alert the neighborhood when work is planned between the hours of 8pm-6am. For example, I don't see any reason why the reverse beeping signals cannot be muted and the bright lights can't be directed away from the neighborhood.
Thankfully, the current users of the sand pit have found a new place to dump their concrete waste for the time being. But my guess is that there will still be some summer nights when I will be sleep deprived.