The grinding sound of a truck "engine braking" or the drumming beat of a bass-blasting radio is not music to the ears of Jackson Township Trustees and offenders are put on notice.
Drivers continuing the practices could be charged under the township’s new noise ordinance, fined $100, and found guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
According to a resolution unanimously passed by the trustees during their Aug. 21 meeting, drivers are not allowed to operate a vehicle and force it to rapidly accelerate or start from a stopped position so that the exhaust system emits a loud cracking or chattering noise unusual to its operation, such as jake braking or engine braking; cause their tires to squeal or leave tire tracks on the roadway in an effort to peel-out; or play their music so loud as to disturb the peace.
"The ordinance is basically for where dump trucks are traveling, primarily on Route 104, and using a jake brake," said Trustee Bill Lotz.
Fellow trustee Chairman David Burris added, "Or when teenagers are playing music so loud it vibrates your house."
The board passed the ordinance under emergency language for the preservation of the public’s peace, safety, and welfare. Burris noted the legislation was prompted by citizen complaints from residents living along Route 104.
White and McDowell
The trustees held a public hearing on proposed improvements to the intersection of White and McDowell roads. Lotz told a nearly packed audience the project is estimated to cost $400,000. Burris said he lives very close to the area and pointed out it is not only a dangerous intersection, it is also the trustees’ top priority for this year.
"We want to get the county, township, and city together and maybe get this started next year and not wait for grant money," emphasized the chairman. "One life is not worth waiting for until 2009. We’re applying for the grant this year, but there’s no guarantee we’ll get it. We won’t even find out if we’re on the list until the end of the year and then we couldn’t start the project until 2009. It’s sad, but the grant process is like playing a game of Russian roulette."
He added, "If we can get everybody together, our goal would be to have the project done next year by getting help from the city and the county. The township could contribute up to $150,000."
Franklin County Traffic Engineer Michael Meeks said suggestions for the project were discussed by his department following a pair of traffic counts at the White and McDowell intersection. He said the reconfiguration essentially encompasses two neighborhood streets and a neighborhood traffic light.
"We wanted to build something appropriate for the neighborhood and the plan only calls for adding a small left turn lane and installing a traffic signal," reported Meeks. "The light would stay green for White Road unless tripped by drivers coming from McDowell."
"There’s enough traffic to meet the traffic warrant, but I don’t foresee any asphalt widening on McDowell," he noted.
Residents attending the evening meeting shared common complaints such as excessive speeding on White Road. They also questioned the county representative regarding changes in surrounding property values involving intersection improvements like the one under consideration in Jackson Township. Meeks assured residents that in similar projects, valuation was neither better nor worse than before the improvement started.
"For those who live in the area, we’ve seen traffic on White Road increase exponentially," commented resident Harry Thomas. "Shoppers use White Road instead of using Stringtown Road and the problem is more than just at McDowell and White Road. Cut-through traffic is coming out of the high school, so you should also consider Honey Creek Road."
When asked about other traffic calming measures, such as "dangerous intersection" signage, speed bumps and rumble strips, Meeks said the ideas would not work or are not allowed along roadways such as White and McDowell.
"We need to slow down cars and trucks coming down White Road," continued Burris.
"We’ve asked the county many times to run radar. We only get the speed trailer. We’re doing all we can to stop this (speeding)."
Fire Chief Lloyd Sheets said his department will participate in a controlled training fire starting at 8 a.m. on Sept. 14.
The one-story abandoned house, on property owned by the township, is located at the corner of Buckeye Parkway and Holton Road. Following the eight-hour training session, Administrator Mike Lilly said the township will have the structure demolished, although the exact date is yet to be determined.