Nov 5, 2012

Variations on the Noise Wall

Apparently, the Little Canada City Council is doing an end run around the will of the property owners on Australia Avenue. The owner of Gopher Electronics convinced the council that his property will somehow be damaged if there isn't a line-of-sight from the freeway to his building and that his tiny building provides ample noise protection for the people who live on the streets "blocked" by his building. So, the council is looking at (or has already decided on) shrinking the length of the northwest side of the proposed noise wall for his benefit.

Obviously, this completely eliminates the value of the noise wall for 2/3 of the residents on the west side of the freeway. As the DOT's own literature states, effective noise barriers must:
  • must be tall and long with no openings;
  • are most effective within 61 meters (200 feet) of a highway (usually the first row of homes);
  • a barrier should be at least eight times as long as the distance from the home or receiver to the barrier;
There was no indication of this conversation in the currently posted 10/24/2012 meeting notes, but a resident who attended that meeting said there was quite a bit of off-line discussion about the "variation."
 Reducing the length of the barrier will effect the efficiency of the barrier for far more than just the citizens "protected" by the Gopher building. It will eliminate much of the barrier's effect for most of us on the west side.Since Gopher Electronics has been accused of being the cause of a lot of the lake's degradation over the years, it is hard to see why the city would be suddenly concerned about that business' input regarding the neighborhood.

There is still some time for public input before this project is turned over to the bureaucracy. "The Administrator reported that MN DOT is requesting that the City hold a public hearing on the MN PASS project, and staff is recommending the hearing be held on Wednesday, November 28th at 7:30 p.m. The Administrator pointed out that last evening MN DOT held an open house on the project at City Hall. The issue of sound walls was discussed with residents, and there are some areas abutting the project where property owners favor additional sound walls and some not. The Administrator noted that the Heather Oaks property owners abutting the project do not support the addition of a sound wall, but would like to have additional landscaping installed." Stay tuned, this "discussion" isn't over yet.

The fact that none of the council members or the mayor are opposed in the upcoming election is probably bad news for the city. It says we're either completely satisfied with city government, we're completely apathetic about our homes and community, or we're afraid to raise out heads up because they might get shot off.

No comments: