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Compressor at rink stirs public uproar

Only this morning will tell whether all is quiet at the temporary outdoor ice rink under construction in East Aurora or whether a 36-foot-long compressor unit is still humming loudly and agitating neighbors.

The East Aurora Village Board on Monday heard more than an earful from residents upset with the "chiller" running at the NHL-sized rink 24 hours a day for the last four days since ice-making began Thursday.

Many opponents of the project who live nearby and now hear the noise nonstop told village leaders they had warned them to be cautious in allowing the outdoor rink to proceed because of this exact issue.

The issue blew up into an impromptu "gripe" session of sorts, with neighbors frustrated and complaining of constant noise heard in their homes from the chiller -- even with their windows closed. Over the weekend, some village trustees visited homes to see how bad the volume and actual sound were.

"I am going to have to abandon my home to get a night's sleep," said William Hanavan of Church Street. "Last night, the noise went up by a level or two. I cannot use all the rooms in my house. There is a constant hum that goes through my entire house."

Hanavan demanded to know when the village was going to begin enforcing its codes.

Dan Prusinowski, an acoustical consultant and engineer who has conducted his own noise studies of the rink on behalf of the neighbors, gave village officials a detailed report of his noise studies since the chiller began operating.

He urged that the chiller operations be halted until proper noise mitigations are in place and reviewed by an engineer.

Trustee Kevin Biggs said a visit to the neighborhood since the chiller began running confirmed the validity of residents' complaints. "It would drive me insane," he said.

Trustee Peter Mercurio's motion to order the chiller operations turned off for the night didn't even get voted on, before Village Attorney Robert Pierce insisted that any such order or citation would have to come from the village's code enforcement officer, Bill Kramer.

Late Monday, Kramer said he didn't have a problem citing the ice group with a noise violation if he felt it was merited. He left Village Hall to go listen to the chiller, which AIA officials said needs to run nonstop day and night in order to achieve and maintain the ice in time for a planned Halloween night opening.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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