Naperville resident: Mariano's noise like 'living next to a truck stop'
At least two homeowners who live behind the new Mariano's grocery store in Naperville are unhappy about the noisy conditions the store is creating as its business continues to boom.
Brian Avery is one of them. The retired transportation and logistics businessman says the store is not living up to promises made when the city gave Mariano's permission to demolish a former Dominick's and construct a new building at 1300 S. Naper Blvd.
"We're obviously concerned about property values," Avery said. "Clearly there's been some damages to us."
He's specifically dissatisfied with the use of a gas-powered refrigerated trailer behind the store, which creates extra food storage for Mariano's but also ratchets up the sound.
Under city code, the trailer's engine is allowed to run between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. while creating up to 62 decibels.
Add to that the backup beeping, air brakes exhaling and rumbling tires of more than 30 delivery trucks a day, and Avery's quarter-acre yard has become quite the noisy spot.
But with the trailer, at least, it wasn't supposed to be that way, he says.
During a January 2015 planning and zoning commission hearing, Dave Ferril, vice president of Mariano's parent company, Roundy's Supermarkets Inc., said the store would not park a refrigerated truck out back to gain additional storage. The plan was to possibly use a "dry trailer" outside for storage around holidays, but "we certainly would not do a refrigeration truck that would run all night and have an impact on the neighborhood," Ferril said during the hearing.
Avery said he doubts the sincerity of that statement. He thinks Mariano's planned to use a refrigerated trailer all along to avoid building a larger store and paying property taxes on more square footage.
But Roundy's spokesman James Hyland said Friday that's not the case. The store wasn't aware at the January 2015 meeting -- nearly a year and a half before the Naperville location opened -- that the business would generate such a high volume of sales that a refrigerated trailer would be needed, he said.
Since residents raised noise complaints to city council members last month, Avery and his neighbors say, the trailer's engine has stopped running at night, as required under city code, and delivery trucks aren't revving their engines like they were shortly after the store opened May 10.
The city also has issued three citations to Mariano's for code violations, said Bill Novack, the Naperville's director of transportation, engineering and development. Two were for deliveries before the 6 a.m. approved start time and one for excess noise about 11 or 11:30 one night.
"We're just trying to improve the situation," he said.
A code compliance officer on site at 5:30 a.m. Friday observed no early deliveries and saw a Mariano's employee behind the store to deter trucks if they were to arrive too early, Novack said.
Enforcement efforts have helped, Avery said. But when the Dominick's was demolished and the Mariano's built, the loading dock was moved farther north away from 75th Street and closer to his home, he said. A partial wall shelters view of trucks from the backyards of houses on Hunter Circle.
"That doesn't solve the fact that we're living next to a truck stop," Avery said.
Neighbors thought the loading dock was going to be "enclosed" and say the partial wall doesn't cut it.
But Hyland said an enclosed dock was never discussed or required, and Novack backs him up. Instead, what the store promised during the 2015 planning and zoning hearing and what it eventually built was a "reconfigured" loading area with a wing wall to screen activities from residents.
Avery said he wishes the store would shorten its delivery hours, build a roof and full walls around the loading dock or find a quieter way to get goods to its back entrance.
When he bought his house in 1994, he knew he was moving adjacent to a strip mall. But with Mariano's relocated loading dock, refrigerated trailer running during the day and frequent deliveries, the noise is not what he's used to dealing with.
"I'm not going to let this go," Avery said.