Selectmen debate noise ordinance

LYNDEBOROUGH – Selectmen have received several complaints in recent weeks concerning logging operations that begin work as early at 4:30 a.m. On Wednesday, July 23, they met with Mark Altner of Crooked S Road who would like to see a noise ordinance in place.

Such an ordinance may not be possible because it could be termed selective, targeting loggers. However, selectmen said, the state’s RSA 644:2 does define “normal working hours” as 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

“It’s a quality of life issue,” Altner said. “There are people who work third shift. This is a residential area, a neighborhood.”

Logging operations began on a neighboring property in 2010, he said. “They asked if they could use a trail on my property. If it had been for a week or two I would have agreed but they said eight weeks and I refused.”

In what he said was “retaliation,” they set up a staging area 200 feet from his house.

Altner said police have spoken with the operators, “threatened them with the RSA” and things improved for a while.

“It’s a question of the level of the noise and the duration of the noise,” he said. “Could the permitting process (the granting of the intent-to-cut) limit the operating time?”

Altner noted the police have given the loggers what they say is “a call for courtesy, but I feel we are giving them the courtesy of coming here to make money with the timbering.” He added that he had problems with the logging, “that is a landowner’s right.”

Selectman Lee Mayhew said, “This is a commercial operation in a residential neighborhood. We need to look at how to protect residents from a temporary commercial process.”

Altner asked, “Do companies have more right to make their money than residents have to enjoy their property?”

He wondered if a set back could be established from staging areas, the place to where logs are brought to the trucks for loading, big trucks that sometimes sit idling for extended periods of time.

Selectman Chairman Fred Douglas said, “I think there is a way to manage this, regulate the hours. We need to have someone monitor the complaints.” He added, “You can’t single out one business. For instance, someone using a leaf blower at 6 a.m.”

Mayhew said the question would have to researched and town counsel consulted. A public hearing will be held on Sept. 3.