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Sysco Noise Complaints - 07/14/09


Below is an email recieved from the City's Director of Economic Development regarding the Sysco noise complaints.

Email recieved 07/13/09

Alderman –

As we discussed at last Wednesday’s Ward meeting, the Department of Community & Economic Development had three ‘homework assignments’ to work on as a result of resident issues regarding Sysco Chicago’s operation on Wieboldt Drive:

1). Check the functioning of the water detention pond on the Sysco property;

2) Have noise and light levels tested by a certified testing agency; and

3) Review Sysco’s site plan to determine whether additional sound buffering can be provided.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, I reported the following:

1). The City’s Building Division performed an onsite inspection of the water detention pond on June 15th and found that it was NOT functioning properly. The detention pond is supposed to be a dry system, and the ponding present means that it is not functioning properly; this fact was confirmed by the City Engineering Department. As a result, the Building Inspector contacted Mike Llewellyn, a representative of FCL, the company that constructed the pond, and informed him that the pond must be re-engineered to drain property. Mr. Llewellyn stated that the company would begin this work immediately.

2). This department contracted with a professional engineering firm to conduct noise and light studies at the Sysco site. Testing was done on June 22nd and on June 26th, with the results received about a week ago. According to the certified results, neither the noise nor the light effects reached significant levels: the conclusion reached was that, although “somewhat elevated” immediately adjacent to the distribution facility, the “noise is dissipated to such an extent that it is not loud enough to affect adjacent residential areas”. The same conclusion was reached for light levels.

This is actually good news for the residents - it does not mean that there is not an issue with noise, particularly around the Orchard Court cul-de-sac – but rather that the noise levels do not reach health hazard levels and that prolonged exposure will not be harmful. This means that the noise levels constitute a nuisance; one that can be addressed.

3). In this regard, Building Official Mike Spiel and I met with Sysco representatives on Wednesday, July 8th. We met to discuss potential improvements that Sysco could make to improve the sound-deadening capacity of the site. Among the representatives in the meeting were Tom Raimer, Director of Facilities and Bill O’Mara, Vice President of Operations for Sysco. We analyzed the site plan and aerial photography of the neighborhood to determine options. There have been no noise complaints from the neighborhood north of Sysco on Washington Street due, we believe, to the solid, 9’ sound fence and vegetation along this perimeter. On the south, however, where Orchard Court is 550’ from the new Sysco building, there is only a chain-link fence around the property. We asked the Sysco representatives if they would consider erecting a sound barrier fence similar to that on the north side, not because the City could compel it, but as the gesture of a good neighbor. The response from both Tom Raimer and Bill O’Mara was positive, and they agreed to pass the request up to corporate authorities right away. We are working with Sysco to determine where such a fence could go, as there is an issue with the placement of the ComEd power transmission lines that run between Sysco and the railroad tracks.

I believe that this is a very promising response to this neighborhood issue, and I will keep you posted on specific progress items with Sysco.

Mike Conlan


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