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Idling vehicles have time limits

New Oak Creek ordinance gives residents basis to complain

— The sounds of trucks idling for an hour and the odor of diesel fumes soon may be things of the past in Oak Creek.

On Thursday, the Oak Creek Town Board adopted an ordinance that will limit how long a car or large truck can idle within town limits. The ordinance was adopted after Town Clerk Karen Halterman told the board that several residents had complained about large trucks or semi-trailers idling in their neighborhoods. Excessive idling is disruptive and puts unnecessary amounts of pollutants in the air, Halterman said.

“There have been complaints of people who let their cars idle, starting at 4 a.m., for an hour. They’re very loud and obnoxious,” she said.



After some discussion, the Town Board agreed that passing the ordinance – which allows cars to idle for 15 minutes and trucks to idle as long as it takes them to warm up – would allow residents some ground to stand on when complaining about idling.

Oak Creek police Chief Linda Koile said she would not actively search for illegally idling cars or trucks and that she would simply enforce the ordinance if a concerned resident called to make a complaint.



A couple of board members voted against the ordinance, saying it would send the wrong message to Oak Creek’s working-class people who must warm up their vehicles in the morning.

Town Board member Tom Bleuer said the ordinance is just a tool that will allow police to address those who abuse the town’s idling ordinance, not the average person who warms up a car for five or 10 minutes in the morning.

“The working-people issues have been addressed with this,” he said. “Right now, the police can’t do anything because there is no ordinance.”

Before passing the ordinance Thursday, there was nothing in the town’s model traffic code that stipulated how long a car can or truck could idle within town limits.

In related business, the Town Board opted not to adopt an ordinance about the use of “Jake Brakes,” because noise codes already exist in the town’s model traffic code.

Halterman told the Town Board that some residents have complained about the noisy brakes used by most semi-trailers.

Board members agreed that police could use the town’s existing codes to enforce the use of the mufflers for “Jake Brakes.”


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