A 15-foot tall sound attenuation wall was approved at Stop & Shop by the Riverhead Town Planning Board Thursday, as was a cogeneration energy production unit.
Residents and management of the adjacent Glenwood Village community have been seeking the sound barrier for years to buffer the noise from the 24-hour regional Peapod delivery service at the Riverhead Stop & Shop.
The cogeneration unit is new, and two Glenwood residents raised concerns about the potential noise it will generate, questioning whether it will be noisier than the Peapod operation.
The sound wall is actually a black vinyl chain link fence covered with acoustical barrier material along the southern and southwestern boundary, covering about 410 linear feet.
There will be sound attenuating material on the border with Glenwood, on the loading docks where Peapod is, and around the cogeneration unit, according to Brian Stark, the owner of Glenwood. He said he’s fought for about 10 years for the barrier and Stop & Shop is now willing to provide it.
“You may not like this, but this was the agreement I made to protect our interests,” Mr. Stark said to the Glenwood residents who were concerned about noise from the cogeneration unit. “I don’t know what more we can do.”
The cogeneration unit will be located on the eastern part of the property and will be 200 feet away from the nearest home, according to town planning aide Greg Bergman.
“It will generate 70 decibels at six feet,” he said. “That’s without any fencing.”
That’s the equivalent of normal conversation at three to five feet, he said.
There also will be an eight-foot high fence with sound attenuating material around the cogeneration unit, he said.
Mr. Stark said Stop & Shop made the town aware of its plans for the cogeneration unit and the town hired sound engineers to address the issue.
“I think it’s going to make a huge difference,” Planning Board member Ed Densieski said of the noise reduction plans. If it is not maintained by Stop & Shop, they will be in violation of their site plan, he said.
“This isn’t going to go away, but it will be reduced,” Mr. Stark said. “For 10 years, I’ve fought with Stop & Shop to do this and they finally agreed to it. Is it perfect? No. Will it reduce the noise to within town noise limits? Yes.”