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Expert: Skilled Nursing Facility Noise Would Be Within Township, State Levels

Special meeting was held Thursday night at Manchester Township High School

An expert Thursday night testified before Manchester's that the maximum sound level at a proposed skilled nursing facility would fall within township and state guidelines. 

Matthew Murello, president of Lewis S. Goodfriend and Associates, Consulting Engineers in Acoustics, said that the Manchester Rehab Realty facility under consideration for a construction variance 3086 Ridgeway Rd. would not exceed the nighttime residential zone standard of 50 dBA even with all its mechanical equipment running. 

"That's all the air conditioners and fans running at the nighttime hours," he said. Those components — including air handlers, a trash compactor, cooling towers and exhaust fans — would produced a projected 46 dBA at the property line. During the day, the "worst case" dBA could reach 48, Murello said, a volume that is still within township and state standards.

Three-sided barriers near noisy equipment and 4-5 inch-thick fencing at the property line would help to contain the noise on the site, Murello said. 

Murello is one of many expert witnesses brought by the applicant to testify before the board since a variance is required to construct the facility in a residential zone. Since the application's introduction in June,  have spoken out against it, as they fear it may lower their quality of life and property values. 

Murello continued his testimony by saying that delivery trucks backing up may be heard by neighbors since the warning beep under code meant to be heard as a warning and is produced in the most audible frequency the ear can perceive.

"It will be audible, and the problem with backup beepers is that, as everyone knows, it tends to be a rather annoying beep," Murello said. To alleviate that issue, Murello said that he recommends those trucks only make deliveries during daytime hours.

In a further effort to alleviate resident complains, applicant attorney Harvey York said that — in addition to a ban on nighttime deliveries — the trash compactor would not run at night. 

For an idea of how loud that potential maximum could reach, township engineer Bob Mullin asked if that noise level is comparable to anything to which the audience at the special meeting in the auditorium of could relate. 

"The problem with that is sound has a subjective quality to it," Murello said. Different sounds may have the same dBA but a different quality.

"Numerically, it's difficult to say what 46 dBA sounds like," Murello said, though he tried to offer a comparison — a standard 2-to-3 ton air conditioner at a 25-foot distance produces about the mid-to-low 50 dBA range.

"That's about as close as I can get," he said.

Some residents questioned whether any additional noise is too much. Renaissance resident Jack Glussi had an exchange with Murello during which he tried to find an answer as to how much noise is normal in a residential neighborhood.

"The acceptable for us is 0," he said. Currently, the property is "an empty lot," Glussi said, so he questioned whether the noise by the proposed facility would be an increase.

Murello reiterated that the standard for a residential zone set by the township and state is 50 dBA. 

Lisa John, attorney for the Manchester Neighbors group which opposes the construction of the facility, asked Murello whether he took into consideration whether the employees scheduled to start an 11 p.m. shift could create additional noise.

"You didn't take into account car doors slamming, car engines starting, [remote door lock] beepers?" John asked.

"No, I did not take into account any of the employee cars in that area of the site," Murello said. 

Shorin Way resident Gwen Lareau, an outspoken opponent of the facility whose home is adjacent to the proposed site, questioned whether the language in Murello's report — such as calling sound levels "anticipated" — means that the figures could differ if the facility is approved and constructed.

"These numbers are right," Murello said. "I do stand behind my report, as I do all the other thousands of reports I've done in my career."

Prior to the sound expert, project engineer Michael Thomas of Wall-based Innovative Engineering testified to January modifications to the site which included the relocation of a sign from the property line and the moving of bank parking spaces to the center of the site.

The question of representation arose when a resident who donated to the Manchester Neighbors group asked why he was unable to question Thomas directly.

"Because I made a contribution, I'm locked into it for the rest of my life?" Diego Court resident John Gallegher said.

"[Manchester Neighbors is] represented by an attorney and you gave money to them. You're represented by Ms. John, who is doing a wonderful job," said board attorney Christopher Reid. 

Gallegher said that he did not recall giving the group a donation and wanted to ask questions. After an exchange with Reid, Gallegher was instructed that he could ask his question through John, who represents the group.

"That's the premise that's been going on since the start," Reid said. 

The application will be heard next during the board's regular meeting on April 26; it will not be heard at the regular March meeting. 

Krystle March 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Build it already, I need a job!
Mark Wendell March 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Bring rateables and jobs to Manchester. BUILD IT!!!!!!
Jean Bestafka March 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM
While the Nursing home wants to construct a six foot berm and a sound suppressing barrier; one surprising fact was divulged. The berm will start right on the neighbors’ property line. This was the testimony of the Project Engineer. The noise expert form Goodfriend Engineering then testified that sound levels emanating from the facility would be within the acceptable levels of 48 decibels as determined by township and state codes. However, when he did the equipment tests he failed to include , ambulances, employee vehicles and backup noise. The township’s sound expert testified that an ambulance siren is 80- decibels and will be five feet from the neighbors property lines. The board then ruled that anyone who had contributed to Manchester Neighbors could no longer testify effectively silencing all of the people in the audience. The members of the audience were outraged. We will confirm with the township what the process will be for public comment. The next meting will be April 26 at 7PM at the Manchester Township High School.
John Ryan March 10, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I was in the audience and I was not upset by the rules of the Board. Not all of the audience was outraged! I have had 25 years experience working in a Nursing Home as an administrator and can point out that ambulances do not come to facilities with sirens blaring once they have arrived at the driveway. They don't even use them on streets unless there is traffic. Lights yes; sirens no. They also do not pick up the sick from a loading dock, probably at the ambulance entrance in the front entry. The board should consider the good for ALL of Manchester residents...rather than one section ot the communty. This is what they are doing and rightfully so. There are benefits from this facilty being bulit, and there are concerns from residents, and the board is doing a good job of hearing all...and should base their decision on ALL the information provided..which is their job! I , for one, am in favor of the facilty being built and am hoping a decision to go ahead will be approved soon. Therefore, I object to always hearing that NO ONE wants this facilty to be built. And by the way, I, too, live around the corner from the proposed location.
Carol March 10, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Do people have nothing better to complain about? A skilled nursing facility making noise? The majority of people in Manchester are elderly and will need a facility at some point or another for many different reasons. The amount of noise generated from a nursing facility is minimal at best. I live in Manchester and support the project. The above comment is correct, ambulances do not arrive or leave with sirens blareing. So a few beeps from delivery trucks is what they will hear...there's more noice in Manchester from car accidents. If such a little bit of noise is annoying to a select few perhaps they should be living in the middle of the woods somewhere.
Donald J Borst March 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
The residents protesting this faciility have brought plenty of tax revenue and jobs into the area. The less commercial facilities in RESIDENTIALY ZONED AREAS, THE BETTER!. Anyone speaking in favor of this project should look at its proximity to the beautiful homes on Shorin Way and in the woods along Wilbur Avenue. If any of you lived that close I doubt that you would be speaking up in favor of it. We all know from experience, that once a facility such as this is constructed, it is never properly maintained and becomes an eyesore. Working in a nursing facility as an administrator is a lot different than putting up with it in your backyard. In your backyard you have it 24/7/365. Put yourselves in the shoes of the residents who will have it right on top of them.
Mary March 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Your joking, right Donald? Eyesore? Remember the chicken coop? You cannot not say THAT was professionally landscaped! Nor was is maintained by State and Federal inspections. And yes...I live around the corner from it, too. And pray no one you know will never need to utilze it's services....but nice to know it's there for those that do. BUILD IT!
Billabong March 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM
You're joking, right Mary? You talk as if these types of facilities are lacking in the area - that this ONE is the solution to people who are in need of skilled nursing services. Baloney. There are already a multitude of options very close by in Manchester, Whiting, and Toms River that have the beds available to serve those in need of such services. Couple that with the fact that the property is zoned residential and it should be kept as such. Much like the proposed Walmart on 37, this project is not a "need." (And certainly does not warrant a construction variance.) However, I doubt that the folks who are so adamantly protesting the change in the current build of the nursing facility will offer the same pushback against the Walmart project.
Mary March 11, 2012 at 02:06 PM
OK, Donald...we can agree to disagree
Mark Wendell March 12, 2012 at 01:07 AM
This is low impact and better then alot of other things that can be built there. There is a Quick Check across the street. I geuss that makes no noise! I geuss nothing backs up to the funeral home either. The Earle trucks running down 571 are also silent. This was a commercial property when Renisance was built it wasnt a woods! Anyone that put some thought into it when buying property nearby would have had to have thought it's use could be differant in the future. I was born in Ocean County and have seen all those move down here and ruin the so called "country" atmospere of Ocean now they are the ones complaining, funny.
Billabong March 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Yeah Mark, because the people moving down here are the ones building unnecessary Walmarts and nursing facilities and they're also responsible for the abandoned businesses and crummy-looking lots along the Rt 37 corridor. You really don't make a strong argument as to why anything needs to be built there ("better then alot of other things that can be built there" is not a good reason to build something). If there was a shortage of skilled nursing facilities in the area I may agree with you (given the significant senior population in the area) but that's simply not true.
John Ryan March 12, 2012 at 06:44 PM
There is an obvious need in this area or else the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services would not have approved the Certificate of Need that had to have been submitted as the first step in opening a Nursing Home.
Donald J Borst March 12, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Mary By any chance have you ever followed the number of nursing facilities in Ocean County? We do not need or require this one, especially on RESIDENTIALY ZONED LAND! WAKE UP FOLKS!!!!!
Donald J Borst March 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
John: What Certificate of Need? They never had one, even though they lied and said they did. Do you people attend the meetings? It doesn't seem like you do. I have been at all but one. Wake up and smell the coffee. This is just another example of the BIG BOYS taking control and forcing it on the taxpayers who support everything
Donald J Borst March 12, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Mark: You talk about this project as a rateable. How many rateables have been built in Manchester that have lowered your taxes? Residences have a better chance of lowering them but the BIG MONEY boys will never admit it. Give me chicken coops or Quick Cheks any day compared to this blot on the area. Mark your comments kill me. You are SO MISINFORMED!! GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND GET A LIFE!
Donald J Borst March 12, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Mary: Give me the quiet hidden chicken coops any day, compared to this multi story disaster of a project. I'd rather look at flat open unlandscaped property than a multi story monster.
PHYLLIS JIMENEZ April 24, 2012 at 05:16 PM
RIGHT-ON, JOHN. ALL THIS CONFRONTATI0N IS CALLED PACIFICATION AND STALLING!

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