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Riverfront residents seeking relief from 'horrible' noise

The quiet country feel of some beautiful homes along the Niagara River is being shattered by the whooshing and hissing of a Tennessee Gas Co. line, the Town Board learned Monday night.

A homeowner who lives adjacent to the line on Lower River Road near Pletcher Road said the noise was "horrible" and was so loud in his garage that it scared his 2 1/2 -year-old son.

According to board members, the pumping station, which feeds into the Niagara River, has been causing problems for more than a year since the company put in a new piece of equipment to check the line.

Councilman Michael Johnson said the homeowner's little boy is "deathly afraid" to go into the garage because he doesn't know what the sound is.

Board members were echoing the child's query and wanted to get to the bottom of the problem.

"Residents don't deserve that. It's very loud and very annoying," said Councilman Sean A. Edwards.

Edwards suggested that insulation be considered by the company.

Councilman Ernest C. Palmer said the company has stated that the decibel levels are within the law. The problem, he said, is not so much the volume, but the constancy of the noise.

"It's an industrial noise," Palmer said.

Deputy Supervisor Evan Elgin said the town law may differ on the baseline decibel level for city noise versus country noise.

"Ambient noise is considerably lower. We should have language on that in [town] law," Elgin said.

Supervisor Fred Newlin said he plans to have at least two councilmen and representatives from Tennessee Gas meet later in the week.

"We want an engineer [from Tennessee Gas] present, not just someone shaking their heads. These national utilities think that they don't have to pay us a lot of heed," Newlin said.

In another matter, plans for renovating Town Hall were discussed, and making the building handicapped-accessible was the No. 1 issue.

Edwards said, "Two years ago, I ran on one issue, making Town Hall handicapped-accessible. We demand this from any private entity, but we are not [accessible]."

He suggested that the board drop plans for a fancy atrium in order to buy much-needed new entrance doors.

"Then we need to make handicapped-accessible bathrooms and then [handicapped-accessible] counters," Edwards said.

Edwards said the plan would be costly but encouraged the board to do the renovations in phases with a pay-as-you-go approach.

Budget Director Alice DiRamio said they currently have $200,000 in the 2007 budget for renovations.

Of increasing handicapped-accessibility, Newlin said, "It's long overdue. I would be surprised if everyone didn't support this plan."

Johnson said he definitely would like to see the Recreation Department moved out of the basement.

"It doesn't have to happen overnight," Edwards said, "but we do have to move on this."


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