Story County supervisors say jake brake ordinance would be unenforceable after receiving noise complaints
Story County supervisors decided against a jake brake ordinance Tuesday after noise complaints on West Riverside Road, saying the ordinance would not be enforceable.
A jake brake, or a compression release engine brake, is an engine braking mechanism that causes significant noise from the compression release, sometimes compared to a jackhammers, lawnmowers starting and gun firing.
A resident in the area has been in contact with the county, requesting this ordinance, county engineer Darren Moon said. Moon said a lot of the complaints they’ve received come from newer residents in recently built homes in the area.
Moon said there are no safety issues when it comes to prohibiting jake brakes as the trucks can just use their service brakes.
The jake brake offers the driver more control over its movement and relief to the service brakes, according to Iron Horse Transport.
Echoing concerns from the supervisors, Story County Sheriff’s Capt. Nicholas Lennie said this ordinance would be difficult to enforce. If the ordinance sparked more residents to request a similar ban in their area, this would only exacerbate the enforcement issues, Lennie said.
“We do get continuous complaints, mostly for speed, sometimes the engine noise,” Lennie said. “It would almost require a law enforcement officer to be there on site to witness it. Sometimes, depending on how busy we are in the shift and what we have for manpower, that can also be challenging.”
The supervisors recommended yellow signs, which indicate voluntary compliance, be placed in the area reminding drivers a residential area is nearby and engine brakes should not be used. Land owners would be responsible for paying for the signs.
Supervisors approve Capital Improvements Plan, hope for more participation in future years
The supervisors hope to get more community input on future Capital Improvement Plan discussions after the fiscal years 2022-2026 plan passed with little participation.
The board voted unanimously to approve the Capital Improvements Plan, a five-year plan which outlines capital projects and equipment purchase, which included park improvements, a $1.5 million interoperable communications system and $550,000 in election equipment.
The plan is reviewed once a year and adjusted as needed.
Murken said during her time with the county the Improvements Plan has not received much feedback and, this year, received only one comment.
“I would question for next year, how we get the information out and how could we get some more response,” Murken said. “I think putting it out on social media and on the website isn't getting people’s attention.”
Among the projects is a countywide interoperable communications system in 2021 to facilitate communications between the sheriff’s office and other county agencies.
The conservation department will receive $1.6 million in 2022 and $2 million in 2022, according to the proposed plan, for park and natural resource improvements, including playground, trail and campground upgrades and improvements, as well as land acquisition.
The proposed plan allocates $4.8 million to facilities management in 2023, which would fund improvements to the Justice Center and Administration Building, among other projects.
The plan also includes a new Multi-Purpose Training Facility for the Sheriff’s Office in 2024, but the budget for the project has yet to be decided.
Murken said the plan was missing a necessary space needs study. Facilities management director Jody Brogden updated the council on the assessment and said he hopes to present to the board in the next couple of weeks as they finalize a contract with OPN Architects Inc.
“The reason I bring it up is because what the space needs study finds that might affect some of the things that are in (2022) or subsequent years,” Murken said.
Read the Capital Improvements Plan draft here.