Decibels are back on the Payson Town Council agenda at 6 p.m. Thursday when Community Development Director Bob Gould presents his long-awaited noise ordinance recommendations.
"Based on all the input Bob Gould got at the June 1 public meeting and the research he did on a variety of municipal ordinances around the state, he put together in bullet point form a bunch of terms that could go in an ordinance," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "We're bringing it as a council decision request to give us direction to develop some sort of an ordinance. They'll pick what they want and change what they don't and, if it's not too complicated, we'll be back July 22."
Gould will recommend to the council that the ordinance include noise level maximums of 55 decibels during daytime and 45 nighttime for residential areas, 60 decibels daytime and 50 nighttime for commercial areas that abut residential areas, and 65 decibels daytime and 55 nighttime for commercial areas.
Those numbers are comparable to the Tempe noise ordinance that Jim Hill, owner of The Door Stop, says he cannot live with.
Hill is engaged in a skirmish over noise with Citizens Against Noise and Industrial Travesties (CANIT), a group comprised of Mazatzal Mountain Air Park subdivision residents who have complained about noise levels at The Door Stop's manufacturing facility in the Sky Park industrial complex.
Hill claims Tempe's ordinance was specifically designed to discourage industry.
"Tempe is a landlocked community, with little or no interest in attracting industrial operations and manufacturing jobs into its ‘college town' borders ... Of all the Valley communities, Tempe has the fewest major manufacturing businesses, and the tool they use to accomplish their goal of discouraging serious manufacturing is the noise ordinance."
The Door Stop's current operation averaged 60.02 decibels at its property boundaries during 400 readings taken on 37 different days -- about the noise level of an average restaurant at lunch time.
Mayor Barbara Brewer, who is on record opposing any ordinance that would limit The Door Stop from operating 24 hours a day, is not happy with the decibel recommendations.
Carpenter said he expects a spirited debate.
Other items on the agenda Thursday include a proposed amendment to the town code that would move public comments from the beginning to the end of town council meetings. Former Payson Mayor Ray Schum instituted the practice during his term, but previous Mayor Ken Murphy moved public comments back to the beginning of the agenda when he took office two years ago.
Schum argued that allowing public comment at the beginning of the meeting hampered the council's ability to conduct business and gave prime time forums to people with special agendas.
Brewer said she realizes she's reopening a can of worms, but said it only applies to individuals who want to comment on non-agenda subjects.
"I brought that up after attending a League of Cities meeting regarding agenda setting," she said. "It's not that I don't want to hear the people. I do. It's just that people who go through proper procedures should be heard first."