Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, December 04, 2006

Anti-Growth, Anti-Business Then and Anti-Growth, Anti-Business Now

"PARD is not against growth and business - but that's a subject for another letter."

- Joan Harris
Here's the subject of another letter. Not only is PARD against growth and business, so is Joan Harris.

The subject of Harris' previous NIMBY whining (and vandalism): Yet another Bishop Boulevard business, good 'ol unionized, PARD-supportin' Safeway.

From the August 30, 2003 edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Supermarket's noisy air conditioner keeping Pullman neighbors awake; 'Nobody would buy these places if we wanted to move'

The price of progress shouldn't include being deprived of a good night's sleep.

It shouldn't cause residents to give up on their backyard gardens.

And it shouldn't mean having to yell at your neighbor, just to be heard, when she's standing 5 feet away.

At least that's what Jennifer Eldridge, Joan Harris and Anna Sherwood contend.

But that's how they've been spending their evenings and days off since July 6. That's when Safeway Food and Drug cranked up its air handling system on the roof of the new store on Bishop Boulevard in Pullman.

"It's on 24-7," said Eldridge, 43, who lives on Shoemaker Street next to the new store. "They never, ever turn it off."

It's not that the three women and some of their neighbors don't like Safeway. They shop there, at least some of them still do.

Just so people knew she wasn't exaggerating, Eldridge walked up to the 8-foot fence Safeway erected at the ridge line above the store. There, she turned on a hand-held sound meter.

It read 68, then 64, then 58 and then 62 decibels.

Eldridge moved again, a few steps to her left. The same decibel pattern flashed across the digital screen.

Eldridge said city officials indicated 55 decibels is the "maximum acceptable" limit.

"I have to put the radio right down on my bed to hear it," said Harris, 75, a former newspaper reporter, now dental office manager.

"There was this cute little (sign) picture of a village when we moved out here," said Sherwood, 44, as her daughter, Kyra, 5, hid behind her mother's legs. "So much for that."

"I don't get to sleep until 1:30 and I get up at 6:30," said Sherwood, who works at Washington State University. "I don't use my backyard anymore but I have to use my air conditioner."

Having the windows open might keep things cool enough, but they also let in the noise.

"Nobody would buy these places if we wanted to move," Eldridge said.

Officials with Safeway are looking into options.

"We have retained an architect and an engineer," store manager Chris Nash said.

The store is considering installation of noise baffles. The baffles have to be designed, custom built and safety tested. Nash said the process could take three months. He noted that a poorly designed or installed noise baffle could pose a serious safety threat.

Residents who live near the store think the job can be done a lot quicker.

Another 100 days with little and sometimes no sleep just doesn't cut it, a group of residents recently told the Pullman City Council. Council members agreed. They urged public works officials to work with Safeway.

The women also aren't happy with the erection of the chain-link fence along their property lines.

Harris noted that homeowners can only erect a 6-foot-tall fence.

"So who is going to try to go over the fence to get into Safeway?" she asked, jokingly.

Harris and Eldridge confessed to a little "creative sabotage" to remove green slats that originally ran up through the chain crossings. Harris used tools to move the slats up while Eldridge, on a ladder, pulled them out at the top of the fence line.

Now there is a 20-foot-long section of fence with no slats.

Arrest them, they said.

At least now Eldridge and Harris say they can go back to watching the sunset over Sunnyside Hill, if only from inside of their homes.

But Harris looked sadly at a copy of the holiday greeting card that she sent out last year. It was a photograph of a sunset, minus the fence and store, viewed from their hill.

"I'll never be able to take that photo again," she said. "I'm glad I have this one."
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April E. Coggins said...

Joan Harris has been against progress in Pullman since I can remember. She worked against the private golf course that the Mader brothers proposed. She was worried that the golf course might use water and some greedy developer might make money.

Paul E. Zimmerman said...

"So who is going to try to go over the fence to get into Safeway?" she asked, jokingly.

Yeah... and Harris would beat her lawyer to the court house to sue if she were to roll down the hill and land on a paved parking lot, too.

Habitual anti types never think of such things though.

SK Peterson said...

So, Joan Harris moves about 1.5 blocks off of a major commercial corridor and next to a clearly zoned commercial space that abuts Shopko, Chipman-Taylor and the mini-strip mall (as well as the near-by middle school) and then has the gall to complain about noise. She must also be really upset about the new housing development (can't think of the name off hand) on the hill; that must really spoil her view even more than the fence. Come to think of it, was Joan one of the people wanting regulations against people building on hilltops (not hers of course, but for others)?

Bruce Heimbigner said...

'city officials indicated 55 decibels is the "maximum acceptable" limit'
The Pullman city buses are louder than that. I'll take my own measurements

Satanic Mechanic said...

What a nut. Every town has one. Unfortunatly Pullman has quite a few.
When I lived in the development behind the high school, we had these types who had nothing better to do than criticize everything and meddle in my business. We called them the "neighborhood nazis".
Even though I did not break any covenants, they would always yell about me working on cars in my garage because of the noise and the light from my wire-feed welder.
I always said "F!$#'em".

Pullman should say the same to Joan Harris.