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Rural, urban deserve different noise levels

Michael W. Larime

Dear Editor,

There are several dimensions of your article (Aug. 6, page 7) on the issues surrounding the appropriateness of a commercial dog kennel operation in the Four Mile Corridor that Garfield citizens might wish to consider further. For reference, I am a resident of a neighborhood in direct proximity to the proposed kennel.

First, the tenor of your article suggests that the kennel operation has been “approved” by the Garfield County Commissioners. This is not so, as there are several issues still unresolved, paramount among which is the question of whether a “Special Use Permit” will be granted to the putative kennel operator sanctioning the kennel to operate in a location where current zoning prohibits such a use.

What the Commissioners actually did was to set, apparently for the first time, allowable neighborhood noise limits for Garfield County at 55 decibels (daytime) and 50 decibels (nighttime). It appears, from other testimony at the meeting, that the proposed kennel operation would meet these limits.

The separate and distinct issue of a Special Use Permit will be taken up by the Commissioners about 60 days from now. This issue will most likely be the determining factor in whether the kennel will be permitted to operate at its proposed site (County Road 125, a.k.a. Dry Park Road).

Second, Garfield County citizens should be concerned that the commissioners have set (countywide) noise limits without regard for the intrinsically different acoustic natures of various county neighborhoods. By nature, urban neighborhoods have higher ambient noise levels than do rural neighborhoods. This was not considered in the County’s rule-making process despite various citizens comments that urban environments are, clearly, “noisier” than rural ones, and that residents of rural neighborhoods locate there because they put a high value on the “peace and quiet” that goes naturally with living in the country instead of the city.

I, and I believe others, would like to see Garfield County noise standards that reflect and preserve rural values of solitude and quiet that are unique to rural neighborhoods. A regulation that sets acceptable noise limits at 5 decibels above the “neighborhood’s prevailing ambient noise level” would accomplish this and protect urban neighborhoods as well.

Lastly, thanks go the Post Independent for its perceptive and diligent coverage of this (somewhat obscure) issue as it reflects a true concern for keeping all its readers informed and involved in county rule making and legislative activity.

Sincerely,

Michael W. Larime

Glenwood Springs


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