Sound! Add it to the list of deplorables!!!! No, not THAT list of deplorables, the list of deplorables every municipality and neighbor has tucked deep away that they only bring up once I come into town and propose ANYTHING! In case you are not aware of that list, let me bring you up to speed. In no particular order, the list is stormwater, traffic and kids! Stormwater is awful, everything floods out everywhere EVERY and I mean EVERY time it rains. Oh how I enjoy the absolutes. Wish I had a nickel for each time I heard “I don’t care if you are an engineer or not, every time it rains I have a river in my yard!!! Are you going to fix that?“ Try now to picture my inability to hide the, you are a moron, look on my face while I smile and say NO! My second favorite is traffic. Unfortunately, I only get to be a spectator to this sport. But I do love watching my traffic engineer colleagues return volley after volley about how EVERY house in the new community will have ten family members that will all be of driving age, all have cars and all LEAVE and RETURN at the exact same time while the entire community hosts Super Bowl parties and other homes in the community catch on fire and need ambulances. And if not houses, ANY building of any kind will have tractor-trailer drivers coming and going 24 hours a day with back up beepers, pull forward beepers, door opening beepers, etc. Truly, I wish I was making even one part of this up. And lastly, my favorite deplorable…. KIDS! I am amazed at the pure disdain approach taken when someone calculates that EACH house will have ten school-age children that will crush the school system and require the construction of new elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, driving school taxes through the roof and thereby destroying the community.
Fortunately, in a time when we have had the phrase “we need to listen to and follow the science” drilled into our heads, we as engineers have the luxury of following OUR science. Things like stormwater management calculations and traffic studies, as well as fiscal impact studies, have made very easy work of dismissing the above ridiculous arguments that I hear over and over and over again. But now… a new deplorable has emerged onto the scene… SOUND! Most every municipality in the area has had sound ordinances in place for a long time, but it seems recently “sound” is taking a front and center seat to defeat things like bed and breakfasts, gathering venues, etc. Most civilian’s interpretation of sound ordinances is that they have the right to enjoy complete and utter silence while being outside, and ANYTHING you propose will violate their delicate quiet time and thus is not permitted. Of course, their mowing, weed whacking, chain saws, pool equipment, kids running around playing and AC units make no sound whatsoever. Well, as I said above, I have learned over the last seven weeks that we “must follow and listen to the science.” So…. DL HOWELL has now invested in a Sound Level Meter that can measure everything from the slightest whisper to a heavy metal concert. This meter can be constantly calibrated and used to measure sound up close or at a distance. So… for your next project that needs sound measured… keep DL HOWELL in mind. We would love to take measurements of sound at different places along your project boundary and see just how loud or quiet things really are and if the neighbor who HAS an issue may actually BE the issue. Can you hear me now?