By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
In absence of a noise ordinance of their own, Boyne City officials asked Traverse City noise police to test Kirtland’s decibel output.
According to Boyne City Planning Department Director Scott McPherson, Kirtland came in under Traverse City’s noise threshold—but it’s a little more complicated than pass or fail.
“They have a noise ordinance in place and it was indicated that that may be a model that we want to look at if we wanted to adopt one and see how it relates to the Kirtland Products,” McPherson said.
The noise officer arrived on a Thursday and stayed overnight in order to take enough measurements to make an accurate finding.
“We took measurements throughout town and in those findings the Kirtland Products and all the measurements we found would not have been in violation of that ordinance,” he said. “That ordinance establishes threshold decibel readings for various receiving zones—whether they be industrial, commercial, residential.”
McPherson said Traverse City’s residential noise limit is 60 decibels on the “A” Scale.
“The readings that we registered throughout the community were between probably 48-or-so down to 39, so they’re all below those environments,” he said. “We did go around and we could still hear Kirtland, so it looks like it’s a lower decibel or lower frequency noise that’s being produced that’s better monitored on the “C” Scale, and that’s kind of what’s brought out in the RSG report.”
McPherson said lower frequencies travel farther, and he said most noise ordinances are based on the “A” Scale.
The information was scheduled to be presented to the Boyne City Planning Commission on Monday Nov. 19.
Boyne City resident Carole McGinty asked the board when readings were taken.
McPherson said they were taken at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Boyne City Manager Michael Cain said some of the readings were taken from inside residential homes.
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom said the RSG report stated that noise levels above 35 decibels may cause sleep disturbances.
McPherson said those numbers were according to the World Health Organization.
“So, in other words, if they do stay at that level up in the 50s that is going to cause sleep disturbances for a lot of people?” Sansom said.
Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord asked McPherson if an ordinance similar to Traverse City’s would resolve the Kirtland noise issue since it deals with the “A” Scale while noises not measured on that scale are potentially causing disturbances.
McPherson said the Traverse City Noise Ordinance deals with noises most likely to cause hearing disturbances.
McGinty asked the board if there was not a process the city goes through before allowing a business to open in the area.
“These types of businesses have been around for quite a while. And, to have all of this difficulty right now seems questionable to me,” she said. “It seems like either the information that was obtained before the business was even accepted in this community was in error or … somebody didn’t do their homework.”
McGinty added, “It is unfortunate that the business and all of you … have to jump through all these hoops at this particular time.”
Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch said there is a group of good people working on the issue to see it resolved.
“Beyond the sound we still have to deal with the odor and the particulate, so it’s not over yet,” Sansom said. “There are other things we need to go through and address.”
Gaylord asked if the MDEQ report was yet available.
Kirtland officials said the report was still unavailable at this time.
Look in the Nov. 28 edition of the Boyne City Gazette for the full story from the Boyne City Planning Commission meeting.