08/11/04 — Planners want expert advice on noise reduction

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Planners want expert advice on noise reduction

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on August 11, 2004 2:03 PM

The Wayne County Planning Board says it needs some expert advice on noise reduction before it recommends new construction standards around Seymour Johnson.

The board agreed Tuesday night to ask the county commissioners to pay for a sound engineer to look at the data about noise levels around the Air Force base.

The consultant's recommendations could give county officials a better idea of how new homes and businesses should be built to reduce noise and how much it would cost developers, said board member Chris Cox.

"There's been too much controversy about noise levels and a lot of confusion," Cox said. "We don't need to make a hasty decision."

The board did not have any information on how much this would cost or how long it would take, although Planning Director Connie Price guessed it could take several months.

The commissioners may not want to wait that long. They plan to discuss the proposed zoning and building rules Tuesday and are likely to set a third and final public hearing.

They will also likely decide next week whether to extend again the moratorium on new subdivisions and mobile home parks in the high noise areas, now set to expire Sept. 2.

Since December 2003, county officials have been working on a proposal to zone or rezone about 26 square miles around the base and the flight lines of jet traffic. The goal has been to limit construction in areas with high noise and accident potential.

The county's plans would not affect land within the city of Goldsboro or its planning area; the City Council is considering its own regulations.

As of Tuesday night, the county planners and commissioners agree on almost every issue. Both boards favor allowing existing homes, businesses and churches to expand without restriction. People who own mobile homes would be allowed to replace them, as would mobile-home parks with vacated spaces.

The sole disagreement is on noise-reduction standards for new construction.

The Planning Board has recommended that in areas with average noise levels of 65 decibels or more, builders should be required to limit interior noise to an average of 60 decibels or less. This could be accomplished through many normal building practices, such as installation of a central air system.

The commissioners have supported requirements that builders reduce outside noise by 25 to 35 decibels, depending on the location of the land. This could require additional insulation in the attic, solid-core doors, special windows and slab foundations.

The commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in their board room, third floor, Wayne County Courthouse Annex, 224 E. Walnut St. The work session will follow the regular meeting.