Mahwah June 17, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 3 Pilot provides testimony on noise and cleanup by Frank J. McMahon During the last two meetings of the Mahwah Board of Adjustment, Pilot Corporation presented testimony from two experts concerning the noise that would emanate from its 4.5-acre truck stop site on Route 17 if and when it is renovated into a service station for trucks and cars, and how the contaminated soil at the site would be cleaned up. Norman Dotti, an acoustics expert, told the zoning board that the Pilot property as it is being operated today as a truck stop meets the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection noise standards of 65 decibels in the daytime and 50 decibels at night at the property line, and said the use of the site as proposed by Pilot would have less of a noise impact than the present use. He said his calculations were done on the whole site and his analysis was based on the terrain of the site, the elevation of the buildings and roads, and the various sound sources at the site. He explained that he obtained data from the manufacturer of the air conditioning units to be used at the site and compared them to data he has compiled over many years for service stations and found his data was within two decibels of the manufacturer’s predicted levels. Dotti emphasized that the number of truck spaces at the proposed site is being reduced from 85 to eight, so the site would be quieter than it is now. He noted that the route of truck deliveries to the proposed convenience store was changed to avoid the need for delivery trucks to back up, thereby cutting down on the sound of the backup alarm on those trucks. Asked about the effect of the noise on the schools on Ridge Road, Dotti explained that the noise level at the schools would be about 42 to 43 decibels from the site, not including the noise from cars on the highway or the air conditioning units at the schools, and the noise from school buses. He said that calculation does not include vehicles entering the site for fueling or trucks leaving the site, or in transit, because they are considered “patron vehicles,” which are not covered by the state’s noise regulations. Dotti added that any multiple number of trucks refueling at the proposed station would not increase the noise level there. Dotti recommended, nevertheless, the use of a six foot high solid acoustical fence on three sides of the property to lessen the sound impact on surrounding properties. Without the fence he predicted the noise on the school grounds might increase by two to three decibels, which is difficult to discern. The other expert was Michael Raffoni, an environmental geologist employed by the company hired by the Travel Centers of America, the previous owner of the truck stop and is responsible for the cleanup. Raffoni said the soil contamination was caused years ago by a leaking underground fuel tank, but he told the board that much of the contamination on the site has been cleaned up under the direction of the NJDEP although it is difficult to get rid of contaminated ground water. He advised that the best way to clean up the site would be by razing the property and removing all the asphalt. He then described the methods being used to monitor the cleanup of the site and how the contaminated soil would be excavated and removed. James Lott, Pilot’s attorney, told the board that Pilot would oversee the cleanup of the site and make sure it is done in accordance with NJDEP standards. Any contamination found during construction would also be remediated, he said. In addition, he assured the board that, if the responsible parties do not accept their responsibility to clean up the site, Pilot would take on that responsibility and pursue the responsible parties legally to ensure that the whole site would be remediated. Zoning Board Chairman George Cimis acknowledged the receipt of a letter from Superintendent of Schools Charles Montesano with an attached board of education resolution concerning Pilot’s application. The school board’s resolution encouraged the closing of the Ridge Road access to the Pilot site and asked the zoning board to take under consideration any concerns regarding expansion of that site, which the resolution states could be detrimental to the health and safety of the students and staff of the township’s public schools. Pilot’s proposal already calls for the closing of the Ridge Road access and two zoning board members objected to the recognition of the resolution. In addition, Ben Cascio, the zoning board’s attorney, advised that the resolution cannot be considered unless someone testifies about it and is available to be cross examined by the attorney for Pilot. Lott also objected to the board’s recognition of the resolution, saying, “I can’t cross examine a resolution.” grand opening ��������������������� ��� ��������� �������� �������������������������������� ����� ���������������������� ����������������������������������������� ������������������� ��������������������������� ���� ������������ ��������� �� ������������������������������������������������������������������������ �������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������ ��������������������������������������� ~A Better Life through a Better Education ~ ������������������� ������������������� ����������� ����������� 6-10-09 joan/janine JEI_Academy3x3(6-10-09) 3 x 3” ��������������������� ����� ������������� ���������������� � �� �� ����� ����� ��� ������������� ���������� ������������ ������� ������� ���������������� ����� ������������� ������� ������������ ���������� � � � �� � �� � �� ������������������������������������� ������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ ��������� ��������������������� ���������� ���������� ������������ ���� ���� ������������������������ Visit Us At Our New Location in Mahwah ����������������������� �� ����� ����� ����� ������� ������� ������ ����� ������ ���������� ��������� New Location ���������������������������� ��������������� ��� ������������ ������ ���� �������������������������������������������������� �����������������