The Northbrook Board of Trustees is scrutinizing ice cream trucks and local wildlife feeding in the Village. The first issue relates mainly to the sounds ice cream trucks make when they regularly stroll through local neighborhoods during the warmer months.
“This past summer, the Village received numerous complaints concerning the sound level for public address systems. Complaints that were received occurred in conjunction with ice cream trucks operating adjacent to outdoor events near the Village Green, or on residential streets near Meadowhill Park. The ICDC echoed that noise levels from ice cream truck vendors seem to far exceed the Village’s current noise regulations,” said a memo from the Development and Planning Services Department shared at a February 24 session. The meeting proposed an audit of the revised regulations for mobile food service operations that were established last May.
“Currently, mobile food vendors, which include ice cream trucks, are required to abide by the Village’s noise ordinance regulations,” said Michael Strong, Northbrook Management Analyst, when Daily North Shore sought comment about the matter. The current code requires that PA systems don’t exceed 75 decibels at 30 feet from the truck.
“Our discussion with the Board in February shed light on the fact that certain vendors seem to be exceeding noise levels that are allowed under this ordinance.” A resolution now requires Village staff to evaluate noise levels as part of a food vendor’s annual license renewal inspection to ensure that their noise machines/amplifiers comply with Village regulations.
“If complaints do arise, officers could ticket ice cream truck drivers $25 to $750, according to code,” said a report in the Chicago Tribune. What this means for residents is that they will have to keep their ears perked if they want to snag some treats from an ice cream truck; 75 decibels is just under the noise level of a telephone ring that registers at 80 decibels.
The other talk about town is the ground feeding of wildlife, which has gone wild, according to some residents.
“There has been a steady increase in animal activity in our neighborhood over the 12 years we have lived here, namely birds, skunks, raccoons and, as of last year, coyotes. At least in good part, our animal problems can be attributed to a nearby neighbor who feeds and harbors such animals. Over the course of our living here the neighbor has laid out sandwiches, ripped open bags of bird seed and spread them on the ground in the yard, created spaces in the yard where large animals can nest and has hung numerous (10+) bird feeders in the yard,” said a complaint by Chris Maisch who lives on Illinois Road.
An unnamed neighbor, likely speaking about the same home, said, “Ground feeding of many animals is and has been going on at the 2100 Block of Illinois Road for many years. This has been reported to Village Personnel on many occasions with no code enforcement results or assistance.” The neighbor alleged that animal hutches are provided in the backyard of the residence and linked this to concerns of West Nile virus and poison ivy from the “toilet” that has been left on their own property due to all the animal waste. They asked that there be regulation of the number of bird feeders per square footage and the overall prohibition of ground feeding and animal shelters.
Northbrook Village Code currently only has regulations to prohibit the harboring of “dangerous, feral, undomesticated, vicious, or wild animals,” but is in discussions to possibly institute stricter rules for ground feeding. “Counsel is currently working on the language and once complete, it will be brought back to the Communications and Legislation Committee to revisit and recommend approval to the full Board,” said Assistant to the Village Manager Rob Sabo.
Under a preliminary review the committee found that 35 of 130 surveyed municipalities in the state prohibit the feeding of wild animals, and Sabo said that Northbrook looks to pick up the language applied in the Village of Broadview. That states, “The harborage or rats, rodents or other vermin is hereby declared to be a nuisance and injurious to the public health, safety and welfare. It shall therefore be unlawful for any person to allow conditions on property under his control to exist which will allow rats, rodents or vermin to nest, seek shelter or feed.”
So birds and deer appear to be in and rats are out if the new ordinance goes through, which probably won’t be argued by many.