In response to mounting concerns from Glenwood Village neighbors over noise, Stop & Shop has submitted an application to construct a sound barrier along the southern property line.
The plans call for the installation of a 15-foot high fence with a sound attenuation wall along 410 feet of the property line, as well as installing the same acoustical barrier material on loading docks at the rear of the grocery store.
During a Planning Board work session Thursday, Town planner Greg Bergman recommended the Planning Board issue a negative declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act since “the project will serve to mitigate the environmental impacts of noise.”
Stop & Shop operates a regional warehouse for its Peapod delivery system out of the Riverhead store that serves the entire East End. It has been the source of noise complaints from some neighboring residents of Glenwood Village.
The Town Board initially considered taking legal action against Stop & Shop, but ultimately consulted Sound Sense acoustical engineers to measure decibel levels at the property.
Stop & Shop also enlisted VHB engineering to conduct a noise study in January, which found the general daily operations exceeded noise levels allowed under Town Code, Mr. Bergman said.
“We’ve been asking for this for 10 years since the intensity of the operation increased with the PeaPod and the store,” Glenwood Village owner Brian Stark said at the meeeting.“[The residents] are anxious for anything that’s going to mitigate the noise.”
Sound Sense engineers found that the sounds experienced by residents are more “impulsive.”
“A guy pulls up in a truck, drop pallets or opens a door. It’s not like a lawnmower that drones on for 20 minutes,” Mr. Stark explained.
Those impulsive noises necessitate the higher barrier, he said. “It will take that noise and suppress it to a point where you don’t jump out of your skin.”
Mr. Bergman estimated that overall, noise would be reduced by approximately 15 decibels as a result of the barrier.
He also pointed out that town code specifically calls for a six-foot fence where buffer zones exist between commercial and residential properties.
To bypass a Zoning Board of Appeals variance, Mr. Bergman said he’s drafted a resolution that would exempt this project at their next meeting on Oct. 1.
The columns needed to install the barrier will reduce the drive aisle behind Stop & Shop from the required 24 feet to 21.7 feet, which would, however, require a variance unless the applicants amend the plan to make the back aisle one-way only.
The Planning Board could issue an approval, at the earliest, at their Oct. 3 meeting.