Wal-Mart promises neighbors it will quiet down

Representatives from the Carson City Wal-Mart promised the store could keep quiet for three weeks until the city Planning Commission could re-evaluate neighbors' complaints at its next meeting.

Neighbors told commissioners during the meeting Wednesday that the noise from the store both early in the morning and late at night was getting better, but was still too much.

The store's special-use permit requires it to keep noise and disruptions down between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

The city's planning division had asked the commission what it should do about the complaints it had been getting about the store since the beginning of the year.

Wal-Mart representatives told the commission the store has done a lot since January to be more quiet. The store, for instance, sent letters about their hours to delivery companies, stationed a special attendant to watch for trucks coming too early, and stopped loud work earlier than it was required to.

Also, they said, the store had a driver fired who challenged the policy, and it has threatened to cancel a contract with a company that was cleaning the parking lot at off-hours.

Walt Sullivan, head of the planning division, said he and a code enforcement officer have done as much as they can about the problem, and that's why he asked the commission for guidance.

"I will tell you," he said, "(Officer Kevin) McCoy and I are not going to be out there every morning from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock. It just isn't going to happen."

The city, neighbors and Wal-Mart representatives agreed that the store could probably regulate itself, but it disagreed with residents about how bad the noise had been.

Neighbor John Whaley said Wal-Mart representatives played down the number of complaints it had gotten and the number of people who had complained by relying only on e-mails to the city.

Just two families, he said, represented complaints for the whole neighborhood, and Wal-Mart didn't take into account complaints directly to the store.

At times, Whaley said, "it's been a horrible, horrible existence" living next to idling trucks and loud machines that wake him up in the middle of the night. Residents also complained of noise during the day.

But after more than two hours of discussion, Commissioner Connie Bisbee said the commission can only enforce the special-use permit, and other complaints would have to be dealt with elsewhere.


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