Havelock City Hall welcomed the public on Wednesday evening to learn information and ask questions about proposed noise attenuation methods and suggestions regarding how to reduce aircraft noise in households near Cherry Point and Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue.
Pardon our noise – it’s the sound of freedom proclaims the brick and plaster sign near the front gate of Cherry Point, behind the retired AV-8B Harrier that usually is emblazoned with Cherry Point’s commanding officer. The structure has been in place for over 15 years, and while it does symbolize, if not arguably justify, the noises coming from military aircraft, there are many Havelock and Cherry Point residents – many of whom may be new to the area. They may not yet be accustomed to the twin-engine afterburning roars of visiting F-15s, or Harriers landing north into the wind and having to overfly the Woodhaven subdivision. Many people say they could do without it – or at the very least make it somewhat easier to bear.
The meeting held at City Hall aimed to do just that. A tri-fold pamphlet called the “New Construction Acoustical Design Guide” was available to the public concerning outlying areas around MCAS Cherry point and MCALF Bogue Field, near Hwy 24. Michael Avery, community planner for eastern North Carolina Council of Governments was on hand to explain what was contained in the meeting materials through a PowerPoint presentation.Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletters
According to the presentation and the pamphlet, the guide was “developed for homeowners, local planning departments and design professionals interested in sound insulating residences. Reducing the level of aircraft noise inside a home is referred to as sound insulation.”
Avery explained sound ratings, and the noise contours – areas around Cherry Point and Bogue in which the military recommends different sound insulation techniques depending on noise levels. He explained about DNL (Day-Night Average Sound Level). It is identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is an expression of an average noise level for aircraft operations for a calendar year annually. Maps were provided as visual aides to areas of where the highest sounds were likely to occur as well as areas near runways where accidents were most likely to happen.
The Department of the Navy would like to see homes not exceed an indoor DNL of 45 decibels.
“If your [levels] are in that 65 or greater range, then chances are you will need to do some extra work,” Avery said.
Some things that may need to be done to your home before it is constructed or retrofitted according to the hand out are: installing or upgrading to thicker glass acoustical windows, or adding acoustical or storm doors – they generally have better weather stripping and are heavier. Chimneys may also need attention as they provide basically a tunnel for aircraft noise to enter your home. Costs for such modifications and upgrades were not discussed in detail, however.
Avery said that noise has been a problem “since forever.” And throughout history different noise attenuation methods have been used. Roman chariots were not allowed to run at night, and in the 1700s our Founding Fathers had soil moved into Philadelphia streets as not to break their concentration while working on our Constitution.
“We all experience noise. Whether it’s sirens, traffic, construction, or other things that give us discomfort in our day-to-day activities,” he said.
Aside from the obvious noise irritations a busy military base like Cherry Point or Bogue Field can produce, Avery said there are health risks involved. He said hearing loss or health problems will generally not happen at 70 decibels or less, the louder noise frequencies can start to negatively affect your health.
“Problems with the ears can happen, increased heart rate and blood pressure, overall agitation. It has actually been shown statistically that mortality goes up if you are experiencing that level of sound on a regular basis. It can also affect memory, recall and decision making,” said Avery.
Also in attendance to further explain what can be done about sound attenuation were Rhonda Murray, community plans liaison officer, Katrina Marshall, director of planning and code enforcement for The City of Havelock, Don Baumgardner, Craven County planning director and Mike Cerjan, building codes enforcement officer.
For more information about sound attenuation or to receive a full copy of the “New Construction Acoustical Design Guide” you can contact the following:
Carteret County Planning & Development 252-728-8497
Craven County Planning & Inspection at 252-636-6618
City of Havelock Planning & Inspection at 252-444-6411
Town of Emerald Isle Planning & Inspection at 252-354-3338
Town of Bogue Planning & Zoning at 252-393-3055
Community Plans & Liaison Office, MCAS Cherry Point 252-466-4197