Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Council talks noise and yard nuisances


At its Aug. 25 study session, the Airway Heights City Council addressed some noise and yard concerns in the city.

Airway Heights Police Chief Lee Bennett said the Police Department received a written complaint from a resident on Hazelwood Road regarding the noise from jet cars coming from Spokane County Raceway over the weekend. Councilman Jack Collins and Mayor Patrick Rushing said they received phone calls from residents complaining about the noise at the racetrack at 12:30 a.m.

Although the city’s nuisance ordinance states that certain activities are restricted in residential zones from 10 p.m. - 6 p.m., Bennett said it only covers residential areas.

“(The activity) can’t be coming from outside of the zone and impacting it for it to be considered encroachment,” Bennett said.

Bennett explained that he had not received any complaints about the concerts at Northern Quest Casino. The Police Department did receive a complaint about noise from the Corrections Center, however, the issue was handled.

Rushing said previous racetrack operators have told him they would finish their activities at 11 p.m.

Bennett said the city entered into agreements with the county to support the racetrack.

“It’s a good thing for our city and it brings people here,” Bennett said. “It’s been there for a long time so you kind of take that risk when you buy a house in Airway Heights.”

Councilman Doyle Inman said the racetrack brought in extra cars and people for a special event in the city and “we might not see that again for another five years.”

Rushing suggested the city could talk with racetrack owners to release a schedule notifying residents about upcoming events.

In addition to looking into the noise at the racetrack, there are also issues with excessive vegetation on residential property. Bennett said the ordinance does address vegetation that is over eight inches tall, however, the issue is contacting property owners.

“Some of the properties are foreclosed,” Bennett said. “We send out letter after letter and it comes back unaccepted. A lot of those properties are abandoned and we don’t know who owns them.”

For the Police Department to perform abatement on the property, Bennett said they have to go through due process.

“We’re only allowed take action on stuff you see from a public right of way,” Bennett said. “We can’t go into yards. We can’t go into anything.”

Other issues raised during the discussion include the difference between an open field and a residential lot, as well as definition and limitation of yard art on properties.

“Where it gets foggy is the interpretation of what one person’s eyesore is,” Bennett said. “It’s exactly in the eye of the beholder of what they consider is an eyesore (and what is yard art).”

The council agreed to bring a draft of the nuisance ordinance to a future study session.

Al Stover can be reached at


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