Metro Park noise survey doesn’t measure lower frequencies

Metro Park noise survey doesn’t measure lower frequencies

Residents complain about rumble, vibration of bass sounds –

metro park noiseLast month a noise survey was conducted to determine how nearby neighborhoods are affected by concert events at Metropolitan Park, and the outcome is a medley of voices seeking the harmony of compromise.

Results from a City of Jacksonville study of noise levels at Welcome to Rockville, a two-day music festival held April 27-28, indicated that sound emanating from the concert was within legal levels, but vibrations from the low frequency of the bass still caused neighbors concern.
“We are finding that the bass is a big problem,” said Councilman Don Redman who represents the South Shores and St. Nicholas residents who are most affected by the noise from these large festivals. “It wasn’t so much that the loudness was an issue, but the low tones which vibrates people’s houses.”

At the May 9 meeting of the City Council Ad Hoc Committee on Metropolitan Park a brief discussion took place on low frequency sounds that are felt rather than heard and survey results were presented by Steve Pace, a senior environmental engineering manager for the City.

In reports, Pace showed that while the loudest location was on Holmesdale Road in St. Nicholas, with maximum sound levels of 70 dBA on April 27 and 62 dBA on April 28, there were other times that the ambient noise of birds and frogs caused the highest readings, not the sounds from the festival.

“The conclusion was things were better,” Redman offered. “Promoters directed the speakers toward the north and northwest toward the stadium and the direction of the wind seemed to help too.”

City Council enacted legislation to exempt both the Welcome to Rockville festival and Funk Fest held May 11-12 from noise regulations so measurements could be taken without enforcing current noise limits. While the results from the Funk Fest study are not available yet, Jan Miller, a 28-year resident of St. Nicholas who wants to see limited paid concerts in Metropolitan Park, said the noise from Funk Fest was nothing compared to concert noise a few months ago.

“Funk Fest was not nearly as loud,” Miller said. “There was a lot of rumble noise, but not like the clarity we heard a couple of months ago. It was so loud then it was like someone was standing in my own yard shouting profanity.”

Renee Soforenko, a 21-year resident of St. Nicholas, has a different take on the noise.
“I live right across the river from the stadium and I think the concerts are very vibrant and exciting,” Soforenko said. “I don’t see anyone complaining about the fair where western music is played for 10 days. I can hear the cows. I don’t think a community should pick and choose the noise we hear.”

Soforenko likens it to building a house by an airport and complaining about the airplanes. “I’m just not getting what all the fuss is about.”
Mike Yokan, one of the Welcome to Rockville promoters, said efforts to contain the noise included focusing the main stage away from the neighborhood and limiting sound decibels to 105 dBA. Miller said these changes did seem to help with overall noise levels, but she thinks the bass sounds also need to be considered. “The noise ordinance currently in effect is based on decibel levels. It doesn’t measure the bass which comes across the water. It doesn’t monitor the true noise.”

Yokan, who believes the festival had a “multi-million dollar impact” on the city, is optimistic that promoters can work with the City to address such problems. “In general we are very pleased with the results of the measures we took to address the concerns of the neighborhood,” Yokan said. “We believe there are further measures than can be taken if the low end sounds are a problem.”

Redman thinks one solution is to move these events to the Cecil Commerce Center.  “Metropolitan Park is not the place for these kinds of concerts,” Redman said. “It’s a park, not an amphitheater.”

Yokan thinks the current location is ideal. “The nearby hotels, clubs and restaurants, the easy access to the venue for both local music lovers and out-of-town patrons, and the great backdrop of the river and the downtown skyline make Met Park an ideal venue,” said Yokan.
“It’s a big fight. They want what they want, and we want peace and quiet,” Miller said.  “I think if we can all work together. We can compromise and come to a decision we agree on.”
By Lara Patangan
Resident Community News

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