Way to find out about noise
January 17, 2013
Regarding “Neighbors question noise of CVI events center” (RC, Jan. 11, 2013), everyone involved seems to agree that the operation of this new facility will cause significant noise for those living nearby.
But the county then throws up its hands and says that there is little to be done about that but to trust CVI to manage its operation in a responsible way. One is reminded of Ronald Reagan’s statement “Trust, but verify.”
Noise analysis and mitigation is a well-established science. There are many types of acoustical consultants readily available to help analyze a situation like this and develop proven strategies for mitigating noise impacts. The county has used such consultants itself, for example in the preparation of the Airport Master Plan.
Such help needn’t come at any cost to the county or the neighbors. Standard practice is for permit applicants to pay for a proper noise analysis, including development of effective mitigation measures, as part of meeting their burden of proof to show that a use like this, subject to a use permit, won’t have significant adverse effects on the surrounding community.
Noise consultants can accurately predict and depict what the noise impacts of any given use will be. And they can compare those with widely accepted standards that define what noise levels for what duration are likely to be disturbing or harmful. And they can then develop mitigation measures, from design changes to operational procedures, to assure that reasonable standards will be met by the project in question.
Unfortunately, the county has chosen not to require this of CVI. But that does not mean that CVI, which says it wants to do the right thing, can’t proceed in much the same manner on its own. CVI management should meet with affected neighbors to jointly select a qualified noise consultant to evaluate this situation at CVI’s expense and make appropriate recommendations about both the design and operation of this facility to minimize its noise impacts.
That could include both a pre-construction phase focused on facility design and an operational phase after the facility opens. During the latter, actual events could be monitored at sensitive locations in the neighborhood to help CVI fine tune its concert operations to minimize noise impacts.
A good place for CVI and the neighbors to start would be the Website acousticalconsulting.com, which explains various noise consulting specialties and how to hire a noise consultant and has a consultant database. Plus, Googling “noise consultants” will turn up many other options.
This would be a simple way to verify that the trust the county places in CVI is warranted and to take steps now, before it is too late, to make this facility a good neighbor instead of a source of ongoing and potentially expensive and divisive controversy. And perhaps show the way to more responsible county reviews of such projects in the future.