Amazon proposal raises noise concerns


SPANISH FORT – A proposed Amazon distribution center in Spanish Fort has some city officials questioning whether noise from the facility could disturb nearby residents.

Amazon has proposed building a distribution center at the Spanish Fort Town Center. The facility would employ about 115 people and is scheduled to open in 2022, according to city reports.

At the City Council work session on Monday, Feb. 1, council members discussed a request by Amazon to modify the city zoning code designation of B-4 to allow the center to have more lights and truck deliveries after regular business hours.

At an earlier meeting, council members said plans for the center call for large trucks to come into the facility between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. to be unloaded. Smaller delivery vans will be loaded and leave the center to make deliveries to homes and businesses in the region starting at about 9 a.m.

Councilwoman Mary Brabner said Feb. 1 that she had questions about how much noise would be generated by the center and whether it would affect residents in nearby homes and apartments.

“My concern with the Amazon thing is how different it is from a car dealership,” Brabner said. “Car dealerships have lights, but their lights are down toward the interstate. This is going to have lights and trucks at all hours of the day and night, and it backs up to residential and each time you put a big truck in reverse, you can hear it.”

Brabner said that in the past, equipment operating early in the morning during the construction of the Home Depot store south of Interstate 10 disturbed residents several miles away.

“It was waking people up in Lake Forest with the heavy machinery and that's what concerns me about this facility,” Brabner said.

Councilman Curt Smith said he supported bringing new industry to Spanish Fort, but that the noise question should be addressed.

“I'm generally in favor of trying to get this thing done, but that does concern me about the noise factor,” Smith said. “I did not really think about that factor. I wonder how Amazon might respond to that.”

City Attorney David Conner recommended that Spanish Fort officials ask Amazon about the issue of noise.

“They did mention that they were doing a noise study, and so we ought to consider to ask that question to have them address that to see if that's part of their study,” Conner said.

Mayor Mike McMillan said the city will hold a public hearing on the Amazon zoning request at the March 1 council meeting.