Bellevue residents issue noise complaints about dog food company
By John McCracken
BELLEVUE – During the July 28 village board meeting, residents voiced concern about a local pet food company keeping them up at night.
Jill Bielinski submitted a citizen noise complaint to the village this March, which stems from late-night noise coming from Carnivore Meat Company, 2878 Ontario Road.
Bielinski described the noise as a constant humming produced by heavy-duty machinery in her backyard.
“Run a generator under your bedroom window and see if you can sleep,” she said.
Bielinski, who has lived at her current residence adjacent to Carnivore Meat Company for 33 years, said in the past she has let the annoyance go, but in the last two years, the noise has gotten worse, especially during recent months.
Carnivore is one of three parcels grouped together in an industrial district surrounded by residential units to the north, east and west.
Village ordinances restrict noises in an industrial lot, such as Carnivore’s, to no more than a 55-decibel limit during the day and 50 at night.
The 50 to 55-decibel range is akin to a refrigerator running.
Sounds that emit a decibel reading of more than 85 are considered harmful for prolonged exposure.
Bielinski said the problem was a catalyst for her family’s decision to move out of Bellevue.
“Good for them that their business is growing, but be a good neighbor,” she said.
Interim Village Administrator/Community Development Director Andrew Vissers said he has gone to the location at different times during the day to take decibel readings, all of which have hovered around 50 decibels.
“It seems to be within reason of what our ordinance allows,” Vissers said.
He said village staff have not taken readings after midnight, which is when residents said the noise occurred more frequently.
Carnivore and the Brown County health department have taken readings and found the noise levels within the allowed decibel limit.
“We’re not disputing if there’s a noise or not, but without a clear violation, the village can’t direct a change or issue a citation,” Vissers said.
Resident Sandy Connor said she sleeps with her windows shut and is still woken up by the noise on occasion.
“It’s an annoying hum that kind of makes your teeth vibrate a bit,” Connor said.
Carnivore Vice President of Operations Brian Lakari spoke at the meeting and said the company’s freeze-drying procedure could be a culprit for the sound.
Carnivore routinely freeze-dries products, such as cat and dog food. and the process takes no less than 36 hours and can take up to 72 hours.
Lakari said operations haven’t changed in recent years, but the company’s nitrogen consumption – part of the freeze-drying process – has increased.
Residents also said the noise could be coming from rooftop condensing units.
“We’re trying to be the best neighbors that we can,” Lakari said.
Village Trustee Tom Katers lives in the area and said he has noticed the noise more frequently in the past two years, and it has become an annoyance during weekends.
“I find it to be getting more frequent,” Katers said.
Both Katers and Bielinski played video recordings taken in the past where humming akin to a running leaf blower or lawnmower could be heard from inside their homes with the windows open, in the backyard or on a deck.
The Brown County health department will conduct readings after midnight in the coming weeks to monitor the situation.
According to a July 22 village memorandum, the village stated a solution that would knowingly satisfy all parties is unknown, and there appears to be frustration on both sides.