The Mordini family and their neighbors are one step closer to peace and quiet.
At an administrative hearing on Thursday, July 20, the City of Highland Park’s corporation counsel reported that a sound test conducted by the city’s Community Development Department over the Fourth of July weekend showed that Albion Highland Park was in violation of the city’s sound ordinance.
A hearing officer granted the property owner a deadline of Aug. 17 to present new evidence from their own sound tests or add sound mitigation measures.
“Until full compliance is achieved, the City will issue daily violation notices and will seek maximum fines,” said City Manager Ghida Neukirch in an email to Peter and Jodi Mordini, who live next door to Albion.
Albion attorney Cal Bernstein said July 20 that Albion is in compliance with the noise ordinance, but the developer needs more time to prove it.
“It’s really a unique situation because the only way we can prove to the city we’re in compliance is during the summer months and the summer is more than halfway over,” Bernstein said.
Highland Park zoning code says fines range from $25 to $1,000 for this specific noise violation, and Neukirch said in a followup email that the number of citations the city will administer is not yet determined.
Prior to the hearing, Peter Mordini pleaded with council members on July 17 to take action on noise pollution coming from Albion’s air conditioning units that he said is disrupting his family’s life.
Albion Highland Park, 1850 Green Bay Road, is branded as a luxury-apartment development that opened in 2021 just north of Central Avenue off Green Bay Road. To its north, Albion abuts single-family homes along Sheahen Court, where the Mordinis live.
Mordini told the council that the noise level from the AC units is equivalent to 36 lawn mowers running outside of their house and, because of that, his family is “suffering mentally and physically.”
“Imagine your life, coming home to a house, where you can no longer open your windows to let fresh air in and enjoy your backyard and patio, and constantly up at night stressing about trying to fall asleep and what holds our future for our family,” Mordini said.
Jodi Mordini said that the AC units run all year long, not just in the summer.
“We love our home. We don’t want to move. We love where we are. We love our community,” she said.
Mayor Nancy Rotering expressed frustration on July 17 with how long the process has taken to help the Mordinis. She asked for weekly updates on the issue.
“I feel like the Mordinis have been going through this for years. We keep getting explanations and studies and this, that and the other thing. Enough,” Rotering said. “So, how are we going to fix this?”
Louise Conway, the Mordinis next-door neighbor, whose household is also affected by the noise, thanked Rotering for a sense of urgency on this issue.
Councilmember Andrés Tapia said he has gotten to know the Mordinis and their contributions to the community and urged the council to take a step back and view the noise pollution as a humanitarian issue, rather than a complicated bureaucratic process.
“We attend functions for the city, the Lot, Ravinia. We buy in town, we buy at the stores. We support a lot of things in town. We work for Highland Park High School, me and my wife. We supported the victims, we donated to them. We even campaigned to support our (council members) up here,” Peter Mordini said. “We’ve spent a lot of time in this town and tried to be mild citizens. We don’t understand how this can go on for three years. The suffering, the pain. I’m depressed, not because of me, but because I have to look at my family, what they’re going through.”
This isn’t the first hardship the Mordini family has faced in town.
Peter Mordini is the son of Jim and Ana Mordini, also of Highland Park, who in 2017 had to move out of their home when it was deemed uninhabitable due to damage from a neighboring construction site.
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Rosie Newmark is a 2023 Record intern and an incoming senior studying journalism and history at Northwestern University. Rosie has written for multiple campus publications in addition to the Hyde Park Herald and American Libraries Magazine.