Belmont noise study strikes the wrong chord

Concerns about the results of a third-party noise study on Notre Dame de Namur University’s Koret Field may force the city to pay for a second look at the sound coming from the school’s new athletic field.

Community Development Director Carlos de Melo said the city is looking into paying for another noise study to be done to address their concerns before mid-January, when the Planning Commission is set to meet and discuss a possible revocation of the school’s conditional use permit for the field.

On Nov. 27, Shen Milson & Wilke Inc. turned in its acoustic report for Koret Field, having recorded sound levels during soccer games on Aug. 25 and Sept. 22.

According to the report, the highest recorded noise during the study was from traffic, which hit a high of 81 decibels, 16 points higher than the Belmont noise ordinance allows. Referee whistles that many residents have shared concerns about hit between 50 decibels and 59 decibels, lower than the general traffic’s 68-76 decibels.

Ralston Avenue resident Risa Horowitz — who has been vocal with her concerns about the field — said the acoustic study failed. De Melo said the city shared some of those concerns. Although pleased that an acoustic study was completed, city officials say there are still questions that need answering.

“The study was not very in-depth, which is the main basis for our concern,” he said. “They were not specific as to where measurements were taken.”

Although residents along Ralston Avenue were the most vocal with their concerns about the field, the report says it is difficult to tell if there is even sound emanating from the field near Ralston Avenue because of noise created by passing traffic.

The only other locations explicitly identified were “the intersection of Chula Vista [Drive] and Escondido [Way] [and in general around the neighborhood] directly across from the sport field.”

jgoldman@examiner.com

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