|Item A (Attachment 1) is solely an administrative function declaring the proposed code amendment a public record.
Item B (Attachment 2) is a proposed code amendment to the noise abatement standards, only for new development uses, and the separation requirements for convenience uses of the Zoning Code.
The proposed code amendment was discussed by Town Council at a study session on September 2, 2020 (staff report and draft minutes included as Attachments 3 and 4, respectively). The purpose of this report is to provide additional information in response to Town Council's questions during the study session.
As previously discussed, the existing standard of 40 decibels is unusable and unenforceable. Most noise generating uses are located near busy roadways where the baseline background noise level exceeds this threshold. To address this, the proposed amendment has "background noise" adjustments to account for the ambient noise, or background noise, to be able to precisely measure the sound source solely. Thereby enabling staff the ability to contextually evaluate the specific noise impacts of the noise generating use.
Noise study costs
Noise studies typically cost somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the complexity and scale of the project. Staff is aware of the potential burden of additional costs and has intentionally crafted the proposed amendment to balance - limiting impacts on the development community and protecting neighbors. To that end, the number of uses that would be required to provide a noise study is purposefully limited to only a handful (car washes, auto repair, drive thru's (excluding banks), gas stations, and outdoor entertainment venues).
Furthermore, when considering the potential costs, it is worth noting two key benefits the proposed amendment affords businesses. Those include:
- Enabling a business owner to proactively identify and incorporate mitigation measures during the design review phase. Retroactive mitigation measures are always more expensive and this represents a realized capital benefit in the long run when compared to the alternative.
- Even though the existing noise standard of 40 decibels is entirely unusable, existing business are still subject to this requirement. The proposed amendment eliminates this standard and instead would utilize the Town Code requirements regarding 'nuisance noise" that are realistic.
Types of noise
Table 25.1.A in the proposed amendment includes three separate categories for measuring different types of noise. To help better understand the differences between each, typical types of sound in each category are listed below:
- One-hour average limits - sound sources that are active for a period of time
- Heating and cooling systems
- Maximum sound limits - sound that occurs intermittently or vary rapidly
- Motor startup
- Intermittent load speech
- Intermittent load music
- One-minute limits - sound with significant low frequency content (cause vibration)
- Music (subwoofer)
- Some machinery
The proposed amendment uses a tested and precise means to measure the various types of sound emanating from "noise generating" uses.
The Planning and Zoning Commission considered the proposed amendment in June and July of this year and has recommended approval.