Door Stop Protecting Reputation

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The Door Stop noise issue has flared up again, but this time owner Jim Hill says he's had enough.

"Slanderous rumors, damaging to The Door Stop's reputation, are being fabricated and spread by a few of our residential neighbors living in the Mazatzal Mountain Air Park," Hill said. "The Door Stop has been provoked past our limits of tolerance and we have retained David W. Davis of the law firm of Turley, Swan, and Childers to assist us in bringing a lawsuit to stop the spread of falsehoods defaming our business."

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Jim Hill stands by a machine he calls "The Screamer," the loudest of the Door Stop dust collectors. He dismantled the machine months ago and replaced it with a quieter machine.

Hill thought the issue was about to be resolved last March when he and resident Ernie Pritchard, leader of a group of residents who objected to noise levels at the cabinet door manufacturing facility, worked out an agreement.

"He's promised to move all of the equipment to the west side of the building and shroud all of the equipment," Pritchard said at the time. "This is going to solve it. I know it will."

But Hill said the deal unraveled when resident Dennis Romain, whose home is right across the street from the Sky Park Industrial Park where The Door Stop is located, refused to agree.

When that happened, Pritchard's group (CANIT, for Citizens Against Noise and Industrial Travesties) dissolved.

"It's now just Dennis Romain and whoever he can get to go along with him," Hill said.

In the past year, a number of complaints have been filed with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) by members of Romain's group.

"They reported us for having dust clouds 1,000 feet in the air," Hill said. "ADEQ inspected us for a year -- they came out dozens of times -- and finally we got letters from them saying not only are we not in violation, (but) we don't even have the potential to be in violation if we pumped out all of our sawdust into the air."

In a March 3 letter to other air park businesses, Hill defended his attempts to mitigate the problem.

"After town officials publicly stated The Door Stop is not violating the industrial noise ordinance, we voluntarily spent over $100,000 trying to please our air park neighbors," he wrote. "Today our noise levels are less than half of the levels the town previously approved."

But Romain begs to differ.

"I can take noise readings off my bedroom balcony right now that are the same as they were when the first noise readings were taken," he said. "They're just as noisy today as they were then."

Romain says the agreement fell apart because Hill wasn't willing "to put it in legal terms." He also claims a group of 40 residents have banded together to fight the issue legally.

"We've sent plenty of letters to Mr. Hill and his lawyers," he said. "As far as I know, he's probably been served (with a lawsuit) by now and that's why he's screaming and hollering."

Davis says any lawsuit from Romain's group will fail.

"Legally (Hill has) done more than he should have done to cut back on the sound," he said. "He's gone above and beyond the requirements of the law for M-1."

The basic problem, according to Davis, is that the subdivision should never have been located where it is in the first place.

"If you want to put a nice subdivision next to an airport and an industrial park, you're just gong to have to live with the fact that that's where you are," he said. "The industrial park was there before the houses were there."

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