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Subject: Surrounding Roads Noise Analysis and Abatement
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Author Messages
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:5


04/13/2017 5:37 PM  
Hi All,

Newbie - long time on several boards, but just arrived in a new neighborhood.

A very nice place with appropriate covenant enforcement - a great long term neighborhood that will be consistent and hold its value. A short description to help in understanding the issue: 350 units, mandatory covenants and dues, well regulated financials with reserve study and funds. The neighborhood has a landscaped greenbelt around it with asphalt walking/bike riding path that connects to and around a sports field, a large gazebo park area. The greenbelt flows close to the main roads near each two of the corners and the gazebo area of several acres is located fronting to the loudest, busiest four lane road. There are no plantings to reduce the noise anywhere. There are nice live oaks, pines, crape myrtles, and linden trees.

The neighborhood is located in the corner between two local roads, one that is just being widened to four lanes with turn in and out lanes, and another that will likely be widened in the next few years.

As a newcomer, some things are more obvious ... like the noise. The longer term residents look at me oddly when I mention I believe noise abatement is our number one long term issue. I explain and they then agree. I suspect most have simply accepted the issue.

So, where to start? I noted that we should consider getting a formal noise engineering analysis, at different times of the day and week, to ensure we fully grasp the nature of the issue - and, as a baseline to allow more formal discussions with the state and county road departments, to answer question from the residents, and to start the process of abating the noise.

Has anyone been through a process like this?
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:2665


04/13/2017 10:41 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 04/13/2017 5:37 PM

The neighborhood is located in the corner between two local roads, one that is just being widened to four lanes with turn in and out lanes, and another that will likely be widened in the next few years.


Well ... You and your neighbors chose to purchase properties located in a busy area. Therefore, you and your neighbor's "personal choice" should now be a potential costly HOA issue because???
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1057


04/14/2017 1:20 AM  
Haven't gone through the process but I did look into the issue a couple of years ago. Sections 3 and 5 of this "DOT Transit Noise and Vibration - Impact Assessment" report are very approachable for a non-technical point of view. Many states have adopted the same methodologies for measuring noise and evaluating its impacts as the US Department of Transportation (FHWA, FRA, FAA, etc.). Florida is one of those states and FDOT uses the exact same criteria. In particular, Figure 3-1 on page 49 of that PDF will be used by any state or local department or agency when making a determination of how severe the problem is when considering noise from the quiet part of your community vs the noisier part near the roads.

If you really want to pursue this I think you'll definitely want to engage the services of professionals. What you might consider a "severe impact" due to increased noise exposure might be considered "low impact" by FDOT. At the very least you will need actual measurements of the difference in sound levels, and then you can go on from there. In the end you have to make the decision about whether or not any particular noise mitigation strategy is "worth it".
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:6437


04/14/2017 4:30 AM  
Posted By JanetB2 on 04/13/2017 10:41 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 04/13/2017 5:37 PM

The neighborhood is located in the corner between two local roads, one that is just being widened to four lanes with turn in and out lanes, and another that will likely be widened in the next few years.


Well ... You and your neighbors chose to purchase properties located in a busy area. Therefore, you and your neighbor's "personal choice" should now be a potential costly HOA issue because???




Fair question.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:13855


04/14/2017 4:44 AM  
The HOA should contact the county/city and ask is a sound wall can be installed.

Depending on the County/City criteria, this may or may not happen.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:13855


04/14/2017 4:46 AM  
Actually, the HOA and several residents should contact the city/county.

Show up at zoning meetings and raise the same request.

Contact your local representative.

squeaky wheel tends to get the grease.

If it's just the HOA raising the issue, it might never happen.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:5


04/14/2017 6:10 AM  
GenoS,

Great info, thank you - exactly what I needed to get started on looking at options. We also need to work the landscape/planting approach to see if it will make a difference. My process would be to get the professional analysis done first, then use it to make determinations on where we can abate immediately with HOA funding, and where we might be able to get assistance from FDOT or the county.

Janet,

I don't really understand your point - "You and your neighbors chose to purchase properties located in a busy area. Therefore, you and your neighbor's "personal choice" should now be a potential costly HOA issue because???" I asked for some assistance in identifying the methodologies used by neighborhoods to deal with noise, not for a judgmental response that doesn't relate. No one CHOSE to be in the (now) noisy area (neighborhood only 20 years old) - as I noted, the roads have been widened and traffic noise load has increased - still a nice place and one that we can all work on together. I also didn't say it was costly ... apparently, you need to chill and think about the topic a bit as you are clearly locked and loaded to respond the way you did. Imagine a world where everyone responds to opportunities for improving their lives the way you did ...
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:5


04/14/2017 6:59 AM  
Tim,

Thanks - yeah, I believe in the same approach - multiple groups with personal touch for the politicians :-)
NigelB
(Texas)

Posts:170


04/14/2017 7:51 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 04/14/2017 4:46 AM
Actually, the HOA and several residents should contact the city/county.

Show up at zoning meetings and raise the same request.

Contact your local representative.

squeaky wheel tends to get the grease.

If it's just the HOA raising the issue, it might never happen.





Some cities are very receptive to using taxpayer funds for noise abatement. The city that I live in will construct masonry walls for sound abatement along the property lines of subdivisions following traffic studies. They will then turn over the masonry wall to the HOA which assumes responsibility for upkeep.

JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:2665


04/14/2017 10:16 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 04/14/2017 6:10 AM

Janet,

I don't really understand your point - "You and your neighbors chose to purchase properties located in a busy area. Therefore, you and your neighbor's "personal choice" should now be a potential costly HOA issue because???" I asked for some assistance in identifying the methodologies used by neighborhoods to deal with noise, not for a judgmental response that doesn't relate. No one CHOSE to be in the (now) noisy area (neighborhood only 20 years old) - as I noted, the roads have been widened and traffic noise load has increased - still a nice place and one that we can all work on together. I also didn't say it was costly ... apparently, you need to chill and think about the topic a bit as you are clearly locked and loaded to respond the way you did. Imagine a world where everyone responds to opportunities for improving their lives the way you did ...


George:

My response makes perfect sense. If your neighborhood is only 20 years old and one street has already been widened to FOUR lanes and the other to be widened soon ... the streets were already busy streets when developed. If you approach your local government as others have suggested above they will (if have half a brain) ask you the same question ... and you need to think about your response. I spent 6-7 years on a City Planning Commission and governments look many years ahead with regards to streets repair, maintenance, and especially widening.

To fix the "noise issue" will be costly ... that is a fact. It will require fencing or a combination of fencing and shrubs. The question then ... is there current fencing along the roads? What type of fencing? Is the fencing the homeowner's or HOA maintained? If current fencing is not sufficient to take care of the noise issue ... who will pay for fencing or shrubs? Most likely that would be the HOA ... therefore, does the HOA have sufficient funds or would they need a special assessment? If the property is owned by homeowner's and not the HOA are they willing to have different fencing installed on their private property and who will be required to maintain?

Most local governments over the last 5 years have become strapped for cash due to economy and less tax revenue. Not many right now even though one poster stated his area in past has paid for such issue are going to be able to afford. Some will also consider that if they pay for fencing and shrubs for your subdivision then all the other subdivisions on the widened road will expect the same treatment. After all they are supposed to be fair and impartial ...

As you can see I thought about the topic ... did you? I analyzed the street issue and asked a simple and fair question. I am all for improving lives, but the question is who pays for it?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:5


04/15/2017 5:48 AM  
The costs could be 10s of thousands of dollars to the HOA ...and, it would be a good deal to those here and to the future residents. We just had some tree trimming done and it was several thousand dollars. Think a couple of miles of landscaped, fenced greenbelt with walking paths and parks.

We have a thoughtful BOD and involved members ...and, enough funds to improve the community.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:13855


04/15/2017 7:14 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 04/15/2017 5:48 AM

The costs could be 10s of thousands of dollars to the HOA .




That would be an incorrect assumption.


The HOA is funded by the members. Hence, the cost could be 10s of thousands of dollars to the membership (special assessment).
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:5


04/15/2017 7:18 AM  
Not sure I am making myself clear.

We have a neighborhood of several hundred units - with noisy surrounding roads. We have several opportunities to abate some of the noise with plantings and walls, etc.

We won't be doing a special assessment - we have enough money to fund a long term improvement plan.

I was, and am still, asking for assistance in how the process could/should work - how to do an effective analysis that would lead to the development of options.
NigelB
(Texas)

Posts:170


04/15/2017 8:59 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 04/15/2017 5:48 AM
The costs could be 10s of thousands of dollars to the HOA ...and, it would be a good deal to those here and to the future residents. We just had some tree trimming done and it was several thousand dollars. Think a couple of miles of landscaped, fenced greenbelt with walking paths and parks.

We have a thoughtful BOD and involved members ...and, enough funds to improve the community.





I think that the question should be how many members are actually affected by the noise.

As an example - when our community was developed, the city required the developer to install masonry walls along two sides of the community that were adjacent to fairly heavily traveled roads. The other side of the community that is adjacent to a less traveled road had individually member owned fences, and outside those fences were trees which provided a sound barrier.

The city is now going to remove those trees and will be reconstructing the road to improve drainage and provide more traffic capability. The 18 of our 233 residences will be affected will lose the tree sound barrier, and the HOA has requested the city to do a traffic study with a view to installing a masonry sound barrier along that stretch of road. Most States and local jurisdictions have guidelines regarding the analysis and abatement of roadway traffic noise and are required to abate that noise through the installation of barriers.

If the city decides not to install such a barrier, I don't believe that such an expensive solution should be paid for by the HOA as it only affects a small percentage of the membership. Masonry type barriers can cost upward of $200 per linear foot so a 1000 foot long wall would cost $200,000. For most HOA's that would require a special assessment and I doubt that a majority would agree to a special assessment that only benefited 18 out of 233.

Research your State and City regarding noise abatement of roadway traffic noise.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Surrounding Roads Noise Analysis and Abatement



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