Dennis Vanden Hull talks Jake brakes

O’Brien County supervisor Dennis Vanden Hull shares his final thoughts regarding a Jake brake ordinance the board of supervisor approved during its meeting Tuesday.

PRIMGHAR—O’Brien County supervisor Dennis Vanden Hull was the lone no vote for the Jake brake ordinance as it was approved during the board’s meeting Tuesday, July 28.

The board held its second hearing for the proposed ordinance, which would “prohibit the excessive, loud, unusual or explosive use of engine and compressed air-braking devices” within a one-mile radius of incorporated municipalities in the county.”

After the hearing, in which no public comments were made, the board passed the ordinance as it was presented.

Vanden Hull reiterated points he made during previous board meetings about the Jake brake ordinance and shared information regarding highway noise levels he gathered using a smartphone app that measures decibels.

His readings showed noise levels of trucks using Jake brakes are comparable to or slightly louder than noise other vehicles such as cars or vans make.

Vanden Hull also said the size of semitrucks, as well as the weight of their loads, contributes to the overall noise they generate while driving.

“There are other noises that the trucks make that don’t have to go with exhaust that, when you’re running 96,000 pounds in 600 horsepower, that whole unit is noisier than anything else,” he said.

“That’s why I don’t like to see innocent people being charged for this, and that’s why I think we have to be very careful.”

Vanden Hull also said people who live close to busy highways should also expect to hear noise from passing traffic.

Board member Sherri Bootsma agreed with Vanden Hull’s point about expecting noise from highways.

Board member Dan Friedrichsen did not argue against Vanden Hull’s points but said the ordinance would forbid truck drivers from using Jake brakes within the parameters outlined in it.

Other items the supervisors addressed during Tuesday included:

  • Approving a waiver of the county’s rights to appeal the issuance of the final construction permit for the Lincoln 6 confinement owned by Bruce Lorch in Section 6 of Lincoln Township. The action did not mean the board waives its rights to appeal any other confinement construction permits that may be issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
  • Holding a hearing on the proposed Rausch Feedlot Co. application to construct a 1,200-head deep pit cattle confinement in Section 13 of Union Township. The board received no objections or comments and later approved the construction application.
  • Approving a tile crossing application for Herb Struyk between Sections 24 Floyd and 19 Franklin Townships.
  • Receiving updates from county engineer Scott Rinehart about roadway projects.