News from Patrick Flynn


There’s an old saw about Anchorage having two seasons: winter and road construction.  Given our record snowfall in April of this year and the number of detours around town this summer, the old saw may be truer than ever!  And while we all understand that cold weather makes construction more difficult thus necessitating all the activity in our warmer months, the side effects can be frustrating – especially noise, an issue I’ve worked on for years.

In many ways our community is paying the price for poor decisions made in the past as industrial areas abut residential ones, rather than having commercial buffers between the two.  This friction becomes worse when the parties involved, especially noise-emitters, fail to recognize the problem and at least try to mitigate their actions.

Other contributing factors include:

  • Increased summer traffic; movements of residents, visitors and freight all peak in the mid-May to mid-September time frame,
  • More open windows; who in Alaska has home air conditioning? and
  • Late-night activities; how often do you see festivals in the park in January?

Noise regulation in Anchorage is handled by the Environmental Services Division of the Department of Health & Human Services.  They are a small staff and their monitoring activities generally are in response to community complaints.  That’s a nice way of saying that if you want their help you’ve got to speak up.  To do so, call 343-4200 or go here.  Keep in mind that you’ll have better luck if you have more information, here’s some suggestions:

  • Record the dates, times and sources of excess noise.  Addresses, license plate numbers and other information help enforcement personnel respond.  If they have to set up noise-recording devices they’ll want to know where and when to position them.
  • Call the Anchorage Police Department after hours.  Unless they pre-plan, Environmental Services cannot work outside the Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm schedule.  If APD is unable to respond note that in your log as well.
  • Give them time.  The staff at Environmental Services is limited and they generally achieve better results by working with noise-emitters to induce voluntary compliance.  They’ll issue fines, too, but history proves that to be less effective in the long run.

I’m working with one of the area community councils and some residents who are having difficulty with a local business.  It’s my hope that the business managers will work with the neighborhood to achieve an amicable solution.  In the meantime, I’d like to hear your experiences with noise-related issues.



This contribution was made on Wednesday, 02. July 2008 at 15:24 and was published under the category Neighborhoods. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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