Red Tape Snags Door Stop Noise Fix

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The compromise between The Door Stop and Citizens Against Noise and Industrial Travesties (CANIT) to reduce noise levels at the cabinet door company's manufacturing facility has been put on hold by government bureaucracy.

Jim Hill, owner of The Door Stop, said an anonymous complaint filed in February with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality caused the delay.

"The original complaint was about clouds of dust 1,000 feet into the air," he said. "The bureaucratic momentum has worked this thing through ADEQ to where it landed on somebody's desk."

Despite the fact that ADEQ had already investigated the complaint and found it groundless, the agency called Hill two weeks ago and told him "not to modify anything" until it examines The Door Stop's entire operation. Hill said the agency was not clear about a timeframe.

"They said it could take anywhere from two months up to three years before they determine whether I need a permit," he said. "It's like the pig through the python thing; it's going through ADEQ and it's going to take as long as it takes."

CANIT leader Ernie Pritchard, whose group is made up of residents of Mazatzal Mountain Air Park and other nearby subdivisions, hopes the delay will be minimal.

"We have a little bit of a problem (with ADEQ), but I think that's going to work itself out," Pritchard said.

The town of Payson, which has been in the middle of the noise issue since it was first raised, will try to intervene with ADEQ to bring about a speedy resolution.

"Town staff will make some phone calls and try to expedite it, although I don't know how much power we have," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said. "It's a state agency."

The battle over noise levels had raged most of the year, with CANIT claiming the problem was a nuisance they shouldn't have to put up with. The group was pushing for a restrictive noise ordinance.

Hill countered that the noise levels proposed by CANIT were too restrictive for a manufacturing facility located in an industrial park adjacent to an airport and would preclude the addition of a second shift. In July, at a special town council meeting, Hill and Pritchard announced a compromise.

"We sat down and talked about how we could solve the problem ... Mr. Hill indicated he would lower the machine that is presently offending the people in Country Club Vista Estates, the air park and the sky park," Pritchard said. "Our contention is that he's doing everything right. We think that if he does what he says he (will do), that it will, in fact, solve the problem."

Work on reducing noise levels was proceeding on schedule until a phone call from ADEQ.

"What we were going to do is lower the big dust collector in the back and move one other one, and then we were going to work with the town on (erecting a) sound wall," Hill said. "We did a number of experiments and had the town out here, and the experiments were successful. We bought the equipment we were going to need and we were ready to go."

Once the ADEQ issue is resolved, both Pritchard and Hill are looking forward to a peaceful coexistence.

"We would have implemented the changes already if it had not been for the ADEQ thing," Hill said. "We're ready to go within two weeks if ADEQ gives us the approval."

Hill also said he will probably move his new cabinet drawer operation from Chandler to Payson in the near future, a move that would eventually add 20 to 30 new jobs. The Door Stop's Payson facility currently has 65 employees.

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