Noise concerns addressed

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stettlerNoise complaints about a car wash has prompted several Stettler residents to make their concerns known to town council.

Town administration received a letter on Thursday, November 15 from concerned residents regarding the automatic car wash located near the intersection of 50th avenue and 62 street. The residents are concerned with the noise created by the automatic dryer installed in the car wash when the unit’s exit door is opened.

The car wash in question was constructed in the summer of 2011 on a previously vacant parcel of land next to a residential development.

Patrons to the car wash have a choice of four wash selections. The two top tier wash options include a 48 second dryer cycle that operates with the rear doors open, letting the noise from the dryer units escape to the outside.

On a visit to the site, town staff used a sound meter to measure sound created by the dryer cycle. The sound of the dryer, measured outside of the car wash directly inline with the open exit door, measured 70 decibels (dB) — consistent with the sound of heavy truck traffic on nearby highway 12. The sound of the dryer operating with the door closed measured only 45 dB.

According to Administration, the owner of the car wash has been very cooperative in dealing with past issues regarding sightlines, lighting and drainage.

As it stands, the construction of the car wash did not violate any existing by-laws. The land the car wash currently occupies has been zoned highway commercial since 1971. Councillor Al Campbell suggested that real estate agents should be more steadfast in pointing out the zoning of vacant parcels of land next to new development.

Suggestions from council included installation of a berm or planting trees. Councillor Leona Thorogood was particularly fond of the tree idea, stating that large trees would reduce the amount of noise. Indeed, plans to build a tree-topped berm were in the original recommendations from the Municipal Planning commission and made a condition of the approval of the original building permit. The trees will be planted in the spring and assessed by the commission at the close of the 2013 growing season.

Council unanimously passed a motion to direct administration to meet with the residents and car wash owner to develop an equitable solution. Mayor Dick Richardson excused himself from the proceedings due to a potential conflict of interest, as the car wash is a client of an insurance agency associated with Richardson.

 

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