Naperville council: Mariano's noise solution won't be 'perfect'

  • The new Mariano's grocery store has been in business nearly seven months in Naperville, but neighbors behind the store say it's creating too much noise that operational changes haven't silenced.

      The new Mariano's grocery store has been in business nearly seven months in Naperville, but neighbors behind the store say it's creating too much noise that operational changes haven't silenced. Mark Black | Staff Photographer May 2016

 
 
Updated 11/23/2016 10:03 AM

There may be no perfect solution for noise disturbing the peace at two houses behind the new Mariano's grocery store in Naperville.

But that doesn't stop city council members, store officials and neighbors from trying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

With council member John Krummen as the go-between, Mariano's and its backyard neighbors are considering planting a row of trees next spring to absorb some of the sound coming from daily truck deliveries to the ever-popular store.

"There's no way for us to be perfect and have no noise. It's a shopping center. There's a lot of ambient noise," Mariano's attorney William O'Donaghue said.

Plus, he said, the store needs frequent refreshing to keep its shelves stocked.

"This particular store has far exceeded even the rosiest forecasts," O'Donaghue said.

Neighbors on Hunter Circle behind the shop at 1300 S. Naper Blvd. raised concerns this summer when they noticed delivery trucks arriving before the 6 a.m. start time set by the city and running noisy refrigerator units for hours at a time.

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Since then, O'Donaghue said the store has made "significant operational changes" and decreased noise, but the complaints kept coming.

So, unfortunately, will the sounds, Krummen says. Diesel engines make diesel-grade noise, air brakes can't be silenced and neither can backup beeps required from commercial trucks for safety. Those sounds aside, Krummen said a row of trees could help lessen the loudness.

"We're not going to be able to officially, ultimately solve this problem," Krummen said. "There will always be noise. It's the building, it's the trucks, it's the way the houses are set up on a hill. We're never going to get to perfect."

The trees under consideration would be planted next spring at the grocer's expense. Behind the store, they would stand 6 to 8 feet tall, taking three years to grow to 15 feet and better absorb sound, O'Donaghue said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The trees would be a slow solution that might not work, but Mariano's wants neighbors and the city to agree the problem is solved if the company plants the foliage, O'Donaghue said. City council members, instead, say they see the move as a preliminary fix, a first step.

"The landscaping may or may not have any significant effect on sound control," Mayor Steve Chirico said. "If it doesn't solve the real complaint, which is the noise, then we're no better off."

Other ideas have been shot down because they're unreasonable or overly expensive. Making a partial wall behind the loading dock taller to shield delivery trucks might make noise at adjacent houses worse because it could create an echo effect, O'Donaghue said. Adding a wall tall enough to avoid an echo would require building up 40 or 50 feet, creating an eyesore Krummen said neighbors don't want.

Still, the council is keeping up its call for a solution as the store nears its seventh month in business.

"The neighbors aren't expecting a nature zone," Chirico said. "They're not asking for complete peace and quiet. We need to find some solutions here."

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