Basalt turns deaf ear to Southside noise dispute
September 1, 2003
The Basalt Town Council has decided not to throw its voice – or dollars – into a dispute over noise on the south side.
The council decided unanimously last week not to spend an estimated $8,600 to prepare a noise ordinance to settle a dispute between neighbors.
Some residents of the new Southside subdivision contend that the noise coming from Myers and Co. Architectural Metals has kept them awake at nights this summer. Thanks to a surge in business, Myers began running a graveyard shift in July at its steel storage and fabricating plant south of the Basalt park-and-ride lot along Highway 82.
Residents on the north side of the new Southside subdivision claim the high-pitched beep of fork lifts and the sound of them dropping their loads has been maddening.
Bob Myers contended the noise coming from his business is consistently within the limits set by the state.
After representatives of Southside complained to the council about the noise July 22, it appeared that the council directed the staff to intervene. Town Manager Tom Baker returned to the council last week with a proposal to implement a noise ordinance that would cost about $8,600 for a consultant to prepare and train police officers to enforce.
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The council balked at the request. Mayor Rick Stevens said he was reluctant to spend the funds based on complaints from a few people. He said Southside should build a fence that had been proposed as part of its approval to help muffle the noise, then there should be an assessment of how bad the problem is.
Councilman Leroy Duroux said he couldn’t support the expenditure to create a noise ordinance because Southside hadn’t offered to help pay for the work.
Councilman Jon Fox-Rubin said there needed to be a longer-term assessment of whether a noise ordinance is necessary.
Councilwoman Tiffany Gildred said the issue went beyond money for her. “The other thing, too, is buyer beware,” she said. “It was there, and they knew it.”
Myers and Co. has operated on its 5.5-acre site in Basalt since 1986. All it had around it at first was a dairy farm and open meadows. Now it’s part of a light industrial and business area. Southside, a mostly residential subdivision, was proposed in 1994 and eventually earned approvals from Basalt for 38 single-family homes, 18 duplexes, 24 townhouses and four mixed-use units where a residence can be developed in the same building as a business.
Baker acknowledged that problems like this are going to arise in neighborhoods where commercial and residential uses are mixed. Town officials hope the solutions can be worked out without their intervention.
Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com