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Morton Times-News - Morton, IL
  • Noise ordinance discussed at meeting

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  • A possible update to the old noise ordinance brought out several community members to the village board meeting Nov. 5.
     
    The community members were all neighbors of the Elevate Church, 1060 E. Jackson St., who all expressed concerns that the new ordinance may not deal with music problems they have been having with the church.
     
    “The simple answer in our mind was to turn it down,” resident Pete Ranta said.
     
    Ranta noted that they had a meeting with the church to try and solve the noise problem, but police have continued to be called out. Ranta added that in the past 16 months, the police were called 55 times.
     
    “We gave them a simple solution: turn it down. That’s all we asked for,” Bill Martin said.
     
    The revised ordinance states that, “Any noise which unreasonably disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of reasonable persons of ordinance sensitivity” are prohibited. Exemptions are made for activities conducted on public or school grounds and church bells between the hours of 8 a.m.-10 p.m., among other exemptions.
     
    The ordinance was drafted by village attorney Tom Davies and police chief Craig Hilliard.
     
    “There’s not going to be a perfect ordinance here, as you can see. There has to be a lot of room for common sense,” Davies said.
     
    The previous ordinance listed a distance of 50 feet to measure noise problems, but Davies said that was mainly to measure problems with barking dogs. The revised ordinance has no set distance.
     
    There were no representatives from the church at the meeting. Mayor Norm Durflinger added that he is meeting with the church this week.
     
    The revised ordinance will be posted for the public to view and comment on up until the Nov. 19 meeting, when it will be back on the agenda.
     
    In other news, the board:
     
    • Heard comments from Durflinger about the recently approved trash collection agreement.
     
    He said that he has had multiple concerns from seniors in the community about the raise in prices for them.
     
    “I want everyone to understand that we got the best deal we can get,” Durflinger said.
     
    He added that, even when no trash was set out when tickets were used, there was still a cost being incurred by the community for the garbage truck to drive by houses.
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    In addition, it was noted that other vendors were charging at least $5 more a month than the deal that was accepted.
     
    Durflinger and several board members noted that the entire board approved the agreement and that a few board members should not be singled out on the agreement.
     
    • Heard from trustee Stephen Newhouse about an amendment to the zoning ordinance.
     
    The planning commission recommended that a new R-1A residential zoning be approved that requires 8,000 square feet and a width of no less than 65 feet.
     
    Another residential zoning, R-1B, was considered with smaller square footage and width, but was not recommended by the commission.
     
    Durflinger added that it may want to be looked at again in the future to make housing more affordable near the interstate and other areas.
     
    Morton and Metamora are the only cities that currently do not have a zoning area like R-1A. It is expected to be voted on at the Nov. 19 meeting.
     
    • Approved several ordinances throughout the night.
     
    The village will soon be selling off older cardiac monitors, battery chargers and other equipment that is no longer needed after upgrading equipment.
     
    The school speed zone near Grundy School was lengthened to expand the zone area due to safety concerns for students and others at the school.
     
    A resolution was also passed to work with Payment Services Network to start allowing the village to accept credit card payments for certain bills, as well as using eBill.
     
    The features will be implemented in the future, and expenses will be incurred by the village for now. Eventually, the board may have to look at adding an additional fee depending on costs.
     
    Resolutions were also passed for a sign committee to review businesses applying for facade grants and with the Morton Township to provide a license to use the GIS mapping info the village has.

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