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St. Joe considers noise ordinance

The St. Joseph Town Board members tossed around the idea of a "nuisance ordinance" at the Thursday, May 7, board meeting after receiving several noise complaints from residents regarding dirt-bike tracks.

Residents living next to the tracks, located at 60th Street and Perch Lake Road, Cedar Drive East, and Valley View and Homestead Trail, argued that the noise is constant and extremely loud.

Supervisor Dan Gavin agreed after visiting one home, calling the noise level "insane," adding that he "would be in favor of having the Plan Commission begin some research on a noise ordinance."

Before such an ordinance is passed up to the Town Board however, there are several things the Plan Commission must consider. Is this a public or private nuisance? Does the noise level exceed the nuisance level time-weighted, 85-decibel noise threshold? How would this affect the zoning ordinance since such activities at these locations are legal so long as they are not public events?

These questions and several more need to be answered over the course of at least two to three Plan Commission meetings before any proposal will be made to the Town Board.

"It has to go through this process; it's not going to be an overnight resolution," said Gavin. "Ordinances like these can affect others we aren't thinking of now, like construction companies."

At the end of the discussion, the board unanimously voted to ask the Plan Commission to begin research into a nuisance ordinance.

Houlton drive-in church

The Town Board approved a two-lot CSM at the Houlton drive-in theater site for Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 N. Fourth St. in Stillwater. The church will be using the drive-in site to hold services beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 24, and running through Labor Day. The service will function similar to a drive-in movie and be performed outside on a small stage, while being broadcast over local radio frequencies, with attendees not having to leave their personal vehicles.

"Everyone is welcome to come," said Church Administrator Bob Eiselt.


A "framework of sustainable community principles" document was discussed to mixed reviews Thursday night. The document, while not binding, is simply an outline of suggestions and reminders for the town of St. Joseph to follow, such as:

  • Governments have a responsibility to provide cost-effective services to the public.
  • Reduce reliance on materials extracted from the earth.
  • Reduce our contribution to the physical degradation of the environment.
  • Recognize that free markets allocate resources most efficiently, and property rights must be respected.

    Supervisor Gavin was a bit skeptical as to the necessity of such a document.

    "This doesn't tell us we have to do anything. Do we really need another document telling us to use common sense?"

    While he doesn't disagree with the message of the document, he argues that it's just a "feel good document; why do we need it?"


  • The Town Board has voted to voice their disapproval of an upcoming proposal that would require prevailing wages on all projects costing more than $2,000.

    "Doing this would take away competitive advantage," said Town Chair Theresa Johnson. "It would also make things difficult for small contractors to compete."

  • A survey on options regarding town-wide high-speed Internet availability will be included in the upcoming town newsletter as well as being posted online at
  • The Town Board is currently going through requests for proposals regarding townwide trash services. A contract must be made for towns with a population of 5,000 and over, a benchmark that St. Joseph is quickly approaching. More information will be provided in the upcoming town newsletter.

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