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Bemidji City Council: Residents ask work around Gemmel to be quieter

Select residents of Gemmel Avenue Southwest have signed a petition objecting to the increased noise in and around their neighborhood.

That petition was presented Monday to the Bemidji City Council as spokesman Adam Steele asked the council to enforce its noise ordinance.

The increased noise, according to Steele, is due to sewer maintenance and dock work at the Irvingboro marina, known as Martin's Landing.

"Living on that block has been like living in a construction zone," said Steele, addressing the council during the portion of the agenda for residents to speak on topics not on the agenda.

Steele acknowledged the importance of the sewer work, but questioned why it needed to begin at 7:30 a.m.

"That's a bit early in the morning to be doing it," he said.

The petitions states that Martin's Landing takes out and places its docks in the early-morning hours, using vehicles equipped with back-up alert systems.

Additionally, the petitions asked the City Council to take care in advancing the site work at the location of the Bemidji Regional Event Center so that construction noise is kept to a minimum.

Also, Steele said the neighborhood is concerned about an increase in traffic due to the BREC.

Mayor Richard Lehmann acknowledged the concerns, and also offered some explanation.

The city's noise ordinance, Lehmann said, allows for work to begin at 7 a.m., so crews working on sewer improvements are actually starting 30 minutes later than they could.

He also noted that back-up alerts on vehicles could be required by Occupational Safety & Health Administration.