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City Council muffles the ice cream man

The original discussion this past Monday night was to center around the Sunnyside City Council amending the city's noise ordinance. But the discussion took a 180-degree turn and quickly focused on the friendly neighborhood ice cream man.

The original discussion item about amending the city's noise ordinance to address unnecessary noise from vehicles stemmed from the recent discussion of illegal street racing in the community.

The amendment to the noise ordinance approved by Council calls for people to be cited for any noise from their vehicle that is frequent, repetitive or continuous and is done in conjunction with the starting, operating, repair, rebuilding or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle or off-highway vehicle. The noise can't disrupt people living within 50 feet of any dwelling unit. The amended noise ordinance approved by Council has wording borrowed from the City of Yakima.

The discussion, though, quickly changed directions. Councilman Don Vlieger, responding from a question by Sunnyside citizen Jim Stevens, wanted to know what the city could do to curb the amplified music being played from mobile carts, such as ice cream vendors.

"Why can't they have a tinkle bell?," asked Stevens, a former Sunnyside city councilman. "Then we would all be happy."

Stevens said his complaint has nothing to do with the cultural aspect of operating such a business. Stevens said the amplified noise coming from these carts disrupts people in residential and business areas of town.

"Personally, as a resident, I vote for the tinkle bells," said Stevens.

Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler said he would have to research the city ordinances a bit more to see if there was an exemption for the mobile carts to play amplified music. But, Vlieger immediately said he would like to see amplified music from the mobile carts included in the amended noise ordinance before Council.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar suggested city staff contact each of the mobile cart operators that would be effected by the ordinance. She further suggested publishing the information in Viva, a Spanish newspaper publication. Aguilar said she was concerned the information wouldn't get out because many of the mobile cart owners don't read or speak English.

Vlieger said the vendors will be warned several times before being cited by police officers, so felt there was no need to take the steps Aguilar suggested.

Council unanimously approved the amended noise ordinance to include amplified music coming from mobile carts.

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