Property values and quality of life will be greatly impacted by the disruption of the peaceful, tranquil ambience of rural living in Circle Oaks as currently enjoyed by residents.
An update examining the Condition of Approval mitigations added in the FEIR is posted here.
Dramatically increased noise attributable to construction vehicles– including heavy equipment being transported to the project site–through the community of Circle Oaks will occur once this project is approved. This particularly impacts residents on or near Circle Oaks Drive.
Circle Oaks’ Sound Facts (before and after the Walt Ranch construction occurs):
- The ambient noise level within Circle Oaks is typically between 32 to 53 dB.
- Rural property exterior noise levels cannot exceed 45 dBA for more than 30 minutes in any hour.
Noise levels after Walt construction and vineyard activities commence:
- Heavy trucks create noise levels of between 80 and 86 dB.
- Bulldozers, excavators, scrapers and loaded trucks create about 85 dBA each.
- Blasting will create noise in the range of 94-98 dBA.
- Noise emanating from rock crushing activities and blasting can range between 75 and 90 dB.
- Two drum grinders are anticipated as part of the portable gravel plant, and no estimate is provided for the dBA level of the gravel crushing plant.
- According to Table 3.5, 965 loaders, 350 excavators, four D-10/D-11 bulldozers, four D-9 bulldozers, twelve off-road dump trucks, four large water trucks and one tractor are listed as the construction equipment which will be used on site.
In the above example, a 40-decibel increase (40X) such as would be experienced by residents of Circle Oaks during construction and blasting activities would result in sound volume 16 times louder than the current actual background noise in Circle Oaks.
The Decibel Scale and how it measures sound
- Meters that measure sound levels work by calculating the pressure of the sound waves traveling through the air from a source of noise is called a decibel scale. Devices like this give a measurement of sound intensity in units called decibels. A decibel scale measures sound on a logarithmic scale, which intensifies on the scale in powers of ten. The difference between actual sound intensity measurements and perceived volumes may be confusing to many people.
- How loud a sound seems to be depends on who’s listening. A young person playing rock up in their bedroom might not think their music is loud, but their parents in the room down below might have other ideas. In other words, how loud things seem is a subjective thing and not something we can easily measure. However, what makes one sound seem louder than another is the amount of energy that the source of the sound is pumping towards the listener in the form of pressure variations in the air. That’s the intensity of the sound and it can easily be measured and quantified in decibels.
- Every increase of 10dB on the scale is equivalent to a 10-fold increase in sound intensity (which broadly corresponds with loudness). That means a sound of 20dB is 10 times louder than a sound of 10dB and a 30dB sound is 100 times louder than 10 dB. A sound of 100dB is actually 1,000,000,000 times louder than a sound of 10dB and not 10 times as loud, as you might suppose.
- Sound carried at intensities exceeding 85 dB are a major cause for concern, as the sound waves carry so much energy that they will cause damage to hearing, sooner or later [As excerpted from www.explainthatstuff.com/soundlevelmeters].
The ambient noise level within Circle Oaks is typically between 32 to 53 dBA. Heavy trucks create noise levels of between 80 and 86 dBA. Noise emanating from rock crushing activities and blasting can range between 75 and 90 dBA. Note that each 10-decibel increase in sound is a doubling of the actual sound.For example, a 40-decibel increase such as would be experienced by residents of Circle Oaks would be 16 times louder louder than the current actual background noise in Circle Oaks.
According to our experts, four years of onsite blasting, heavy equipment operation, vineyard development and construction of 22 miles of roads within the project site cannot be adequately mitigated by construction of temporary sound barriers and modified exhausts on trucks and equipment.
Rock crushing and grinding equipment or other mechanical devices will be used onsite to create road base rock for construction and improvement of existing roadways at the project site. This equipment is not mentioned anywhere in the DEIR. The DEIR fails to evaluate the impacts of the project regarding this equipment and its use either through noise or dust that will be created from it. (See comment letter by Jeff Roberts, dated November 20, 2014.
Heavy trucks hauling equipment, rocks, debris (and eventually transporting grapes off-site) exceed federal and state standards for noise emissions with regard to residences located within (50) fifty feet of roadways within Circle Oaks.
Noise from construction activities will temporarily, if not permanently, disrupt habitat of local wildlife. Many residents moved here to enjoy the wildlife.
For further information regarding noise impacts to the community of Circle Oaks, refer to the reports submitted by Eric A. Yee of Charles M. Salter and Associates, Inc. to DEIR, dated November 17, 2014 and to FEIR, dated 3/29/2014 (Link to come).
For more noise issues within Circle Oaks, see comment letter by Nancy Tamarisk, Chair, Napa Sierra Club, November 21, 2014.
Future wine grape transportation through the streets of Circle Oaks?