The town board weighed several options to deal with noise complaints at a town board meeting on May 7, including noise monitoring of a nuisance campground, banning all amplified noise and sending letters to Gardiner businesses.
Town board member Warren Wiegand suggested the town board and Catskill Construction Consultants, LLC, the town’s consulting firm, schedule a date to collect decibel readings and visit certain sites around Lazy River Campground, a campground which has generated several noise complaints.
Wiegand said the site visit would also give town board members the opportunity to gauge what different decibel levels sound like and adjust zoning accordingly.
Deputy Supervisor Laura Walls said Gardiner should brand itself as a quiet, dark-sky community with plenty of open space to enjoy nature. As a result, she suggested the town’s zoning law be changed to place a complete ban on all amplified noise for campgrounds.
“We’re known for being a quiet community and we like to hear the sounds of nature,” Walls said. “And I’m just thinking, since we’re in the throes of these definitions for campgrounds, campgrounds should have no amplified sound whatsoever. The purpose for camping is to be out in nature.”
Board member David Dukler took it a step further, suggesting the town place a complete ban on all amplified noise for all for-profit businesses.
“Some people might say we’re anti-business,” Dukler said. “It’s not a question of being anti-business, it’s a question of the community can’t serve the businesses, the businesses have to fit in and serve the community.”
The town’s current noise law requires a decibel reading to be taken from the property line using a calibrated decibel meter. The law prohibits seventy decibels between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and sixty decibels between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. Sixty decibels is equal to normal human conversation.
That law is largely unenforceable because the town’s decibel reader isn’t properly calibrated, so the board hired Catskill Construction in October to conduct meter readings.
Town resident Suzanne Levirne said the Lazy River Campground can generate noise every weekend, from in the morning until nighttime.
Resident Andy Collen agreed, and said the campground generates noise most weeknights.
“Every weekend [Lazy River Campground] has some event,” Collen said.
Fred Schanz, General Manager of Lazy River Resorts was in attendance at the meeting. He said while he lives on-site at the campground and doesn’t hear the same levels of noise that other residents have complained about, he heard residents’ concerns and will do his best to respond.
“I will do my best as everyone’s neighbor to take this feedback and run with it,” Schanz said.
The campground will install noise limiters on its speakers as soon as possible, Schanz said. Limiters turn the speakers down when they reach a certain decibel.
It’s a requirement of approvals pending before the town planning board that Lazy River install limiters.
Wiegand suggested the board also send letters to all Gardiner businesses. The letter would explain that the town keeps a call log, the town has a noise consulting company, noise limiters are available, and the town would like to establish a quiet time of no amplified noise after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and after 8 p.m. during the week.
“We’re going to ask them to be good neighbors,” Wiegand said.
The town sent out letters last year, which generated some success.