Neighbors seek sound wall along Hwy. 74

Fri, 07/18/2008 - 3:09pm
By: John Munford

DOT: Wall wouldn’t be effective due to ‘cuts’ for roads

The peace and tranquility of one of Peachtree City’s oldest neighborhoods has been wiped out by the sound of tractor trailers and trains due to the widening of Ga. Highway 74.

Residents in the Clover Reach subdivision, particularly those who live near the intersection of Kelly Drive and McIntosh Trail, are wondering why a sound wall isn’t being installed to protect them. Those residents lost a significant stand of trees along the highway that previously shielded them from the noise.

Neighborhoods to the south are getting the sound walls, and so are those to the north. Meanwhile the homes in Clover Reach, some 36 years old, are not going to be protected.

A Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman told The Citizen Wednesday that the area didn’t qualify for a sound wall because of multiple cuts in the wall for roads that would have reduced the wall’s effectiveness in muffling the sound. The sound walls cost about $15 a square foot and are paid for with federal funds, so they come with stringent guidelines about where they can and can’t be used, the spokesman said.

Residents closest to the Kelly/McIntosh intersection in particular are bemoaning their lost peace and quiet. The cul de sac at the end of Charter Oak Court has borne the brunt of the sound, having lost a significant stand of trees that previously helped direct noise elsewhere.

Neighbor Marsha Derose said the noise from trains traveling on the other side of Hwy. 74 has gotten much louder, and tractor trailers also make quite a stir.

“And the fire trucks, I know they’re very necessary and I don’t mind them. But it’s loud,” Derose said.

Todd Allen, a police officer who lives in Clover Reach and works the night shift, said the noise from the highway can interrupt his sleep.

“The question is, why are we the only ones who don’t have a wall,” Allen asked.

A neighbor’s initial complaint to the Georgia Department of Transportation netted a reply that the agency wouldn’t be able to add a sound wall to protect Clover Reach because construction is already underway. The letter said sound tests that were conducted before construction began to determine the appropriate locations for the sound wall.

“If they weren’t going to put up a sound wall, they should have left us our trees,” Derose said.

Inna Satunovsky, who teaches piano lessons, said she used to keep her doors open during lessons when the weather was nice. Music wafted from her home on those days, and neighbors said they appreciated it.

But now, thanks to the noise from the highway infiltrating her home, Satunovsky has to keep her doors shut and the music indoors.

Satunovsky said a DOT representative suggested she plan cypress trees to help protect her yard from the sound. But the roadway is high above the Clover Reach homes and it might be impossible for the trees to grow that large over their lifetime, Satunovsky said.

A petition seeking sound walls for Clover Reach has already gotten 16 signatures even though it hasn’t been circulated through the entire neighborhood. Clover Reach neighbors sought support from the Peachtree City Council Thursday night and they are continuing to explore possibilities that might lead to having a protective barrier in hopes of restoring some of the neighborhood’s tranquility.

As Derose put it, she wants children playing the cul de sac “to hear you without shouting.”

Tom Carty, who has lived in the neighborhood for 36 years, said it could be that the overhead power lines off the highway would make construction of a sound wall more difficult. He hopes the DOT can be convinced to built the wall anyway, perhaps with Clover Reach neighbors allowing DOT crews to access the area through their yards so the wall can be built.

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Christian's picture
Submitted by Christian on Sat, 07/19/2008 - 6:33am.

This is what mayors are for - -they help out their citizens. Logsdon should be on the phone with a certain governor up the road. Also, how about going to see Ramsey, Chance, or Westmoreland? The Clover Reach people need to go directly to the politicians and get this mess settled. A letter from a congressman to the governor, with a cc to the top DOT people will get this resolved really fast.

Don't waste your time with the low-level DOT knuckleheads. Notice how two different excuses have been provided (project is already underway, sound test, blah blah blah).

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Fri, 07/18/2008 - 11:21pm.

We all have a vested interest in growing the number of homeowner/occupants in older subdivisions.

The homeowner/occupants in Clover Reach are not only absorbing this DOT-created blight in their backyards, but they are also about to have a full materials recovery replete with 100+ decibel operating levels, heavy equipment, tractor trailers, the vectors associated with refuse and recycling and decaying organic matter all within 100 yards of the edge of the subdivision.

Who wins when the homeowner/occupants leave and the subdivision becomes 100% rental properties?

It effects us all.

The issue of retaining existing homeowner/occupants in older neighborhoods is of vital importance to us all.

The older neighborhoods offer an exceptional value for first time buyers or families on a budget. There are not many places where a young couple can buy a house for 160k and send their children to schools like ours and enjoy the lifestyle we enjoy.

The City should actively participate in helping to resolve this issue with DOT.

The City should seek ways to keep the Clover Reach pool open -- even if that requires creative solutions and modified schedules.

The City should absolutely not build a recycling processing facility a hundred yards or so South of the Clover Reach subdivision.

The City should work with local real estate agents in finding ways to increase the number of homeowner/occupants in older neighborhoods. When their numbers increase, we all win.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Sat, 07/19/2008 - 5:29am.

They cycle through various stages. Wynmeade is a perfect example. Bad builder, poor construction, step-child "other side of the tracks" reputation, several foreclosures, bulk purchases by investors, low quality renters, crime, etc. Then owner-occupants actually increased because the houses were a good value. hen next the surrounding area developed and they are surrounded by more expensive houses and vales have increased.

Clover Reach won't have all that drama - they just have a road and the City will step in and pay for the sound fence and all will be fine. The recycling center will have no impact on home values.

The subdivision that is in the most trouble in PTC is one at the upper price range that has 30 houses for sale in a price range that has no hope of selling for 2 more years. The overbuilding and aggressive pricing of the past 3 years is going to come crashing down on those residents as many of their neighbors go through foreclosure and massive price decreases. No, I won't name the subdivision.

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Sat, 07/19/2008 - 12:52pm.

And I believe you may well be right about Clover Reach's cycling. On the West Coast, I saw post-war tract homes cycle several times -- ultimately improving when the third or fourth round of homeowner/occupants upgraded, creating a strange eclectic stucco olio of houses.

While I didn't contend that the recycling center will lower property values, I disagree that there will be no impact. My opinions are based on having operated a materials recovery facility and knowing the processes well.

I wonder, Robert, if you know whether or not Georgia EPD requires the particular SIC code being used for the recycling center to operate under a NPDES permit or if "BMPs" are acceptable?

Here's a hint: It wouldn't be the first SIC coded 4950 or 4953 facility in Georgia operating without a NPDES permit.

Is the facility being designed as a closed-loop system, or will storm water be discharged on-site? As a 5 acre facility typically generates approximately 35,000 gallons of storm water per inch of rain and current treatment prices are .08 per gallon (not including transportation), I'll assume they will want to discharge.

The amount of recovered contaminated materials (meaning MSW placed in recycling containers) is measured in the tons. That means there will be, at any given time, a few tons of garbabe on site. It takes YEARS to disabuse even the best intentioned citizens from using their recycling roll cart as a second trash can.

Are you absolutely certain that no storm water will co-mingle with any waste? You seem like a perfectly nice fella, but I doubt you'd thought it through thoroughly before tersely dismissing the recycling center as having no impact.

Once you've wrapped your mind around the storm water issue, we can move on to other concerns such as sound levels, vectors, dust particulates, handling of incidental HHHW, whether or not Georgia EPD-named "impaired streams" (Whitewater Creek, for example, is about to be placed on that list) will be impacted, the depth of the water table versus the thickness of the HDPE liner, and so on.

There's a reason these types of facilities are usually segregated.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Fri, 07/18/2008 - 11:24pm.

road in Los Angeles. I swore to myself that I will never do that again.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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