Northern Star Co. and Chaska leaders hope the direct telephone line will help identify the source of factory noises that have irritated the plant's neighbors.
A potato processing plant in Chaska has agreed to establish a hotline to receive real-time complaints from nearby residents about loud noises at the factory, especially at night.
The idea came from a meeting that North Star Co. and Chaska officials held last week to discuss city data that appeared to show violations of state noise standards on several occasions. Chaska City Administrator Matt Podhradsky said the intent is to have someone at the plant who can receive calls at any hour and immediately try to identify which noises from which sources are bothering neighbors.
Residents have said the noise keeps them awake at night and sounds like a sharp mechanical flushing that's as startling as a gunshot and occurs irregularly.
At the meeting, Northern Star contested claims that the company broke the law, and said that weather and wind conditions weren't taken into consideration in evaluating the noise.
Podhradsky said the company may interpret the data that way, but "it still doesn't take away the fact that we saw peaks and spikes of abnormal noises from time to time," and that neighbors have been complaining for months. Podhradsky said he hopes the hotline and continued city monitoring of the noise will lead to solutions.
The company is a division of Michael Foods Inc. that makes a line of refrigerated potato products called Simply Potatoes. It began operations in January 2010 at a refurbished plant located along Hwy. 41 near Chaska's northern border with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388