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Community Noise: Dealing With A Growing Problem

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In 1982, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that 87% of America's urban population was being exposed to noise levels exceeding those recommended for safety and health concerns. Since that time, noise levels have, if anything, increased as urban borders continue to expand.

Noise is becoming even more of an issue with the reawakening of environmental consciousness and the construction of industrial plants, highways, airports, and rail lines in close proximity to residential developments. Other common noise sources of concern in residential communities include pets (especially barking dogs), private parties, public clubs, kennels, and outdoor concerts.

Most municipalities deal with noise only after a problem surfaces. Even when these problems are confronted, however, the technical nature of acoustics and noise control can create misunderstandings and legal battles that often do not effectively solve the problem at hand.

Most potential noise sources can be identified and controlled through an effective community planning process and through enforcement of noise control ordinances. Unfortunately, many communities today still fail to consider noise issues in the planning process (or when reviewing projects) and/or have ineffective noise control regulations. ...

[article continues with discussion of noise criteria; sound pressure levels; sound meters; ordinance standards; and planning issues -- plus a noise glossary and resources for additional information]

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