ALAMO TWP, Mich. — Word spread like gasoline on fire that the Alamo Township board was going to propose a new noise ordinance, which many felt would threaten the Kalamazoo Speedway.
People packed the township hall so full that people poured out of the building, and it was standing room only.
The original ordinance was put into place back in 1974, and Township Supervisor Lou Conti said it is not enforceable according to authorities. Basically, there are no decibel readings to enforce, he stated.
Conti said he knew the meeting was going to be full but was overwhelmed at the response. He gave the fire marshal a heads up, and eventually the meeting had to be rescheduled due to a fire hazard.
“The thing is, I always say is we want to have democracy upheld and we want to make sure we get all constituents’ sides and views before making a drastic decision,” said Kalamazoo County Commissioner Julie Rogers. “I was really pleased tonight, since there was a lot of people turned away, and it was such a small venue that they rescheduled. I think it’s really important that everyone who wants to speak up can speak up.”
The new ordinance, when it is proposed in public, would set decibel limits at 82 during the day and 55 after 11 p.m.
“We weren’t here to say this is 100 percent stupid and a horrible idea,” said track announcer Jason Seltzer. “We’re just looking for a little bit of bargaining. Is 82 the number? I don’t know. We gotta work with them, and they’ve got to work with us.”
Conti said the whole noise ordinance issue surfaced about 14 months ago and was tabled by the previous board. The newly elected board is now dealing with the issue, which started with complaints about kids making a motorcycle track in their backyard that was very close to their neighbor’s home, Conti explained. The motorcyclists were adding more and more hills, taking off their mufflers and having people over all of the time, he said.
Gary Howe owns Kalamazoo Speedway and Conti said they have been meeting with him. The new decibel numbers are similar to those in neighboring townships, but Alamo Township would make some exceptions for the rural setting to accommodate everything from shot guns to farm tractors.
“Personally, the special exemption that we offered him, I personally would tell him that we would probably go a year on enforcement just to get him tuned up, so we can tune this thing right, so it’s a win, win for both of us.” Conti said.
One suggestion to quiet the cars down wer $70 baffle mufflers, according to Conti.
The meeting will be rescheduled, and they are looking to hold it at the elementary school gym on 6th Street. However, the exact day was not known at the end of the meeting.