Town To Study Door Stop Complaints

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The town council will be hiring a sound specialist to study the Door Stop's acoustics in an effort to settle the dispute between some nearby homeowners and the business over noise levels.

The Door Stop, located in the industrial airpark, adjacent to the airport, also borders several current and future subdivisions. The company manufactures cabinet doors and currently employs 62 people.

After the Door Stop opened, homeowners organized themselves into a group called CANIT -- Citizens Against Noise and Industrial Travesty. CANIT claims the continuous noise from the manufacturer is intolerable.

"These hobby pilots are complaining that we are a nuisance like a dripping faucet," Door Stop owner Jim Hill said. "The take off and landing noise is 60 times what we make. We never expected they'd be complaining."

Hill, who owns another Door Stop in Chandler, said he has been harassed by the group.

"We are the local piñata," Hill said. "These people are calling in complaints not just about the noise, but dust, lights, weeds and employee traffic."

According to Community Development Director Bob Gould, some homeowners feel the Door Stop noise is a nuisance and violates town codes.

Since the complaints, Hill has spent more than $16,000 in noise abatement measures to appease the vocal homeowners. He has installed silencers on dust collectors and deflectors to alter the sound in relation to where complaining homeowners live.

Mayor Ken Murphy said the council's decision to hire a consultant will not only help assess the Door Stop situation, but provide expertise that may shape future noise regulations.

"Right now we have some information from Mr. Hill and the property owners," Murphy said, "but what we don't have is what is causing the problem. We want someone with expertise to make recommendations to help the problem be mitigated. We need to get advice regarding appropriate noise ordinances in the future."

Frustrated homeowners asked the council for relief from noise they say is unbearable.

One man asked the council how long they would study the problem while (Hill) invades their privacy with noise he called ‘objectionable'.

"The town has a vested interest in both the property owners out there and Mr. Hill," Murphy said. "Most of the 400 noise levels taken out there don't rise above the noise levels of normal conversation. But, that may not tell the whole story which is why we are hiring a consultant."

The council voted unanimously to hire an acoustician.

Gould sent a letter to CANIT members informing them of the council's decision. The letter also stated that a study done by Code Enforcement Officer Gary Butkus contradicts the homeowners claims that they cannot conduct normal conversations or hear their radio without turning up the volume.

"We have not been able to obtain readings that show the current noise levels should be classified as a nuisance," Gould wrote.

Gould later told the Roundup that, although he believes the current noise does not qualify as a code violation, he doesn't think the current codes are sufficient to define a noise nuisance.

"There are regulations in the town code that would declare some levels of noise a nuisance," Gould said. "Our noise codes could be strengthened a little bit because they don't deal with duration and they don't allow us to look at noise differently in residential areas than industrial areas."

Hill said he and Butkus took more than 400 sound measurements at the boundaries of the Door Stop property.

"We took those readings on 37 different days," Hill said. "The average was 60.02 decibels, a little above the noise of a normal conversation."

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