The study, conducted on behalf of CMI by Tech Environmental, Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts, concluded that Valley Motorsports Park (VMP) “…will generally produce sound levels less than those currently generated by vehicles on Route 25 and local roads.” VMP is currently under development on land adjacent to Route 25, a major state highway that connects NH’s lakes region with Maine.
The Tech Environmental report also demonstrates that a sound study conducted by Harris Miller Miller & Hanson in the summer of 2003 inaccurately portrayed the sound effects of VMP and utilized an extreme and discredited sound criterion to propose, “…an unreasonable and unenforceable property line sound limit of 69 dBA (1-second maximum) that would be violated by a single street automobile driving by.”
The Tech Environmental study measured existing sound levels at 19 separate locations (called Receptors of Concern or ROCs) within a 2-mile radius around the site and then calculated sound levels during construction and operation of the project. Four operating scenarios were developed to describe road course usage periods: Standard Day Average Use, Standard Day Peak Use, Most Active Day Average Use, and Most Active Day Peak Use. Utilizing the FHWA Traffic Noise Model to calculate future sound levels and validate the acoustic model, the study produced the following results:
1) Operation of VMP will generally produce sound levels less than those currently generated by vehicles on Route 25 and local roads.
2) There will be no change to nighttime sound levels, as VMP will not operate at night.
3) Changes to daytime sound levels will be minimal.
a. On a Standard Operating Day, the road course will produce no noticeable change in average daytime sound levels at any ROC.
b. On a Most Active Operating Day, the road course will produce no noticeable change in average daytime sound levels at 14 of the 19 ROCs, and only a slight (3-5 dBA) change at 5 of the ROCs.
Peter H. Guldberg, President of Tech Environmental, Inc, said in the study, “The Valley Motorsports Park project will have a relatively benign effect on the existing acoustic environment and will not produce an adverse impact on the Town of Tamworth.”
In addition to projecting potential sound impacts from VMP, the Tech Environmental sound study demonstrated serious flaws in the Harris Miller Miller & Hanson (HMMH) 2003 sound study, which has been used by project opponents FOCUS: Tamworth in public hearing testimony against the project, and is currently being used by FOCUS: Tamworth as the basis for a proposed sound ordinance. According to the Tech Environmental Study, the HMMH sound study inaccurately portrays the sound effects of VMP in several ways:
1) The final course layout is substantially different from the preliminary plan used by HMMH.
2) HMMH did not account for the fact that the road course is cut into the terrain, shielding offsite locations from portions of the course by natural earthen noise barriers.
3) HMMH used an extremely low noise criterion of 35 dBA LDN at nearby residential areas in its study and incorrectly represented to the Town that this is an EPA recommended limit. The EPA report that HMMH refers to in their presentation in fact reviews and discards the “Normalized DNL” method they advocate, finding it is not a good indicator of activity interference and annoyance from noise.
4) A consequence of using an extreme and discredited noise criterion of 35 dBA is that HMMH proposed an unreasonable and unenforceable property line sound limit of 69 dBA (1-second maximum) that would be violated by a single street automobile driving by.
With respect to the 69 dBA sound limit at VMP’s property line proposed by HMMH – and now being proposed as a sound ordinance by project opponents – Guldberg noted in his study, “The application of such a sound limit would prohibit any development of the property, including residential use, and the application of this limit uniformly in the Town of Tamworth would effectively prohibit any and all human activity in the Town.”
Mr. Guldberg obtained a B.S. in Mathematics from M.I.T. and an M.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Michigan. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, a Certified Consulting Meteorologist, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Environmental Business Council. He has given expert testimony on noise effects at countless public hearings and has performed acoustic studies of motor vehicle traffic for new highway projects in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Delaware (using FHWA noise models), and for food warehouse and trucking facilities throughout New England
A first-of-its-kind concept for New England, the Valley Motorsports Park development is located in wooded land on the north face of Mount Whittier off Route 25 in Tamworth, approximately two miles west of the intersection of Routes 25 and 16. Described as a “ribbon through the woods,” the road course would be available for use by its members, much like a golf course country club. The $28 million development includes a more than three-mile, 18-turn, European-style road course for drivers and motorcyclists to develop and practice their driving skills and attend performance and safety driving schools.
In addition, Valley Motorsports Park will feature a vehicle dynamics area for driver development, short and long-term garage buildings, locker room and shower facilities, vehicle maintenance facilities, and a professional driving school. The Clubhouse will feature spectacular views of the White Mountains, function rooms, a pool, tennis courts, an automobile museum, additional locker rooms, a closed circuit media center, and an elegant restaurant.
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