City Resident Still Concerned Over Delivery Truck Noise
Quality of life is obviously an issue most Jamestown residents care about, therefore, it’s a matter city officials should care about as well.
However, what happens if an issue disturbing a resident’s quality of life apparently isn’t against city laws. What are city officials supposed to do?
That appears to be the case with delivery trucks for the new NAPA Auto Parts location at 1024 Washington St., which opened July 30, 2018. Jeannette Jones, whose house is located across 11th Street from NAPA, has told The Post-Journal the deliveries are being made by large semi trucks and, at times, the deliveries are being made at 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.
“If I can hear them over a CPAP machine, something is wrong,” Jones said who has sleep apnea from having multiple sclerosis. “I went to the (city) meetings, (NAPA officials) have gone back on the things they said they wouldn’t do. I talked about it when the (Jamestown City) council had their meeting at (Chadakoin) park, but nothing has been done.”
Of the two meetings Jones referenced, one of them was a Jamestown Planning Commission meeting held in 2016 when the site plan was approved for the new NAPA location. According to an article that was published by The Post-Journal Dec. 3, 2016, during the commission meeting, James Beach, owner of Superior Auto Supply and seven regional NAPA stores, said regular delivery trucks will be about 24 feet long, similar to a U-Haul, that will drop off parts to the store at night between 10 p.m. to midnight.
During the same meeting, Paul Whitford, who was Planning Commission chairman at the time and is still a member, said there are some concerns from neighbors about the noise that will be created by traffic and delivery trucks at the new store location. The new NAPA store location is in a commercial-miscellaneous zoned area of the city. However, it will be located on the corner of 11th Street, which is mostly residential.
Jones, an 11th Street resident, spoke to the commission in 2016 about her concern about the store having a pedestrian door on the side of the building, which is facing 11th Street. She said no other businesses along Washington Street have a pedestrian door facing a residential neighborhood.
Jeffrey Lehman, city public works director, proposed, which was a condition for site plan approval, that the store owner install an additional tree or shrubbery to lessen the noise that will be created by pedestrians using the door facing 11th Street.
Jones said since the 2016 meeting, no additional trees or shrubbery have been planted facing 11th Street. She said additional landscaping was added to the back of the store and the side facing 10th Street, but nothing has been installed toward 11th Street.
In September 2018, Jones voiced her displeasure with the situation at NAPA when she attended the council meeting that was held at Chadakoin Park. In October 2018, Maria Jones, Ward 5 councilwoman, publicly thanked Vince DeJoy, city development director, for sending a letter to the operators of the NAPA store on Washington Street about Jeannette Jones’ concern. The Ward 5 councilwoman said the letter addressed the noise the delivery trucks are making and about how additional landscaping is supposed to be added to the store’s lot to help reduce noise.
DeJoy told The Post-Journal this week that there really is nothing city officials can do about the delivery truck noise because it’s permissible by the city charter.
According to chapter 290, vehicles and traffic; article 11, truck route system; section 50, letter c; “Such exclusions shall not prevent the necessary delivery of merchandise or other property along the streets from which trucks are excluded, provided that the vehicle from which any such delivery is made shall enter and leave any such designated truck route by the nearest accessible street to the place where such delivery is made, and provided that such delivery vehicles shall remain on such prohibited streets for a period of time no longer than necessary and reasonable to make such delivery or to complete a loading of such vehicle.”
In layman’s terms, because the trucks are traveling Washington Street, a state highway or truck route, to 11th Street to make deliveries, the city charter allows for this activity.
“If someone is living in that zone that is for commercial use, we’re trying to respect her wishes, but the business received site plan approval, of which there were no conditions about deliveries. It was discussed, but no conditions were made,” DeJoy said. “(The NAPA owner) also received a setback zoning variance, but there was no mention about deliveries.”
On Oct. 5, 2016, the Jamestown Zoning Board of Appeals approved an area variance for Inscale Architects of Warren, Pa., architects for the NAPA project, to allow for a side yard setback of 10 feet on the north side of the property, which is along West 11th Street. According to the city’s zoning law, the required setback for an automotive use business is 15 feet.
Again Jeannette Jones spoke out against the petition for an area variance at this meeting as well. In October 2016, she said there are other more ideal locations along Washington Street for a commercial business.
DeJoy said this week it’s a challenging issue for city officials who are trying to work with both the resident and the business owner to find the best possible solution.
“We will work with both the business and homeowner, but we will not work for just one,” he said. “We can’t tell a business they can’t operate in a legal matter.”
City officials have discussed with Beach trying to remove delivery trucks from 11th Street during deliveries, DeJoy said.
“We are working with (Beach) to alleviate the situation — especially the after-hour deliveries when the parking lot is not being utilized by customers — for deliveries to be made to the parking lot and dollied to the loading area,” he said.
Jeannette Jones said, especially now with the winter weather at times shrinking the size of city streets because of snow accumulation, it is important for the delivery trucks not to block the road.
“They park there and you can’t get out. I take a (Chautauqua Area Regional Transit System) bus and CARTS has to wait there for 10 minutes sometimes,” she said. “It’s not everyday, but every couple of days and people can’t get up or down the street. People are driving on the terrace to get around the trucks to go down the street. We are getting sick of this, especially in the winter time. It is already hard enough to go anywhere.”
Jeannette Jones said she is not the only 11th Street resident who is upset by the delivery truck situation at NAPA.
“At first, a lot of (NAPA) employees would park right on the street and they were taking up all the parking spots. We complained to one of the employees and now only one car of their employees parks on the street so they did change that,” she said. “The (NAPA employees) tell us it is the owner’s responsibility for deliveries. They say, ‘We just work here. We can’t do anything about that.”’
The Post-Journal called the city’s NAPA location to talk to Beach, who was not on site, but was at his North East, Pa., NAPA location. The Post-Journal attempted to contact Beach at the North East, Pa., but he was not available and a message was left with an employee. The Post-Journal then didn’t hear back about their inquiry from Beach.