If such records were kept, last Thursday's town council meeting -- which lasted for more than five hours -- may have ranked among the longest ever.
By the time the council got to new business and consideration of noise ordinance recommendations proposed by Community Development Director Bob Gould, it was after 10 p.m. But the fact that half of the once-packed chamber had called it a night didn't dampen the ardor of the two sides in the noise war -- The Door Stop and CANIT (Citizens Against Noise and Industrial Travesties).
Speaking on behalf of CANIT were Dennis Romain, Ernie Pritchard and Michael Hulse, all residents of Mazatzal Mountain Air Park subdivision. Romain, whose home sits on the border of the Sky Park industrial complex and is closest to The Door Stop, told the council noise levels were particularly offensive in his enclosed back yard. Hulse likened the noise "having a vacuum cleaner running constantly."
Pritchard told the council that CANIT does not want to shut down The Door Stop, only to get owner Jim Hill to take the steps necessary to eliminate the problem.
Speaking on behalf of Citizens for Better Payson Government (CBPG), Gordon Metcalf said a Tempe-like ordinance would seriously damage economic development in Payson. He also reported that 231 of 235 responses to the noise survey conducted by CBPG were supportive of The Door Stop.
Don Crowley, also a member of CBPG, told the council that other towns with residential areas in close proximity to airports usually require that houses be built with sufficient insulation to keep interior noise levels at 45 decibels or less.
"The onus is on the residential builders, not the industrial users," Crowley said.
Gould recommended 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 and in some cases lower than the Tempe noise ordinance that Hill says he cannot live with.
Hill believes Gould was pressured to propose numbers similar to the Tempe ordinance.
After considerable discussion, the council directed Gould to gather additional information in preparation for a special council meeting on the subject scheduled for 5 p.m. July 19.
In other action at the council meeting:
- A tentative budget for the 2004-05 fiscal year of almost $35 million was approved, and a budget hearing set for Aug. 5.
- A proposal to place all public comments at the end of the agenda drew opposition and was revised so they will once again be scheduled at the beginning.