FORT ANN — As eight motorcyclists raced in a circle at Country Meadows Golf Course, residents gathered on their front porches.
They listened closely. They peered through telescopes. Their goal: to find out how loud it would be if a proposed motocross racetrack on the golf course is approved.
But some weren’t interested in helping the man behind the motocross proposal test the sound levels.
Tracy and Dan Monahan, whose house is one of the closest to the proposed racetrack, refused to let a sound engineer put a sound monitor on their property.
They also refused to let a Post-Star reporter stand on their property to listen during the race, and said they would have no comment on the sound test.
A video of the test can be found online.
Across the street on Cartier Lane, the motorcycles sounded like a distant hum. Houses there are physically closest to the proposed track, but are shielded by a grove of tall trees.
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Still, those who were opposed to the idea of a racetrack were not won over.
“I don’t know about ‘loud,’ but it’s a constant, annoying sound,” said Kendra Cartier. “There’s a lot of traffic today and I still heard it. I was surprised — even with the tractor, I could still hear it.”
Her husband was moving stone with a small tractor during the sound test. As motorcyclists rounded the turn closest to her house, they could clearly be heard, although they were not as loud as the motorcyclists and trucks on the road.
She noted that traffic noise on Route 149 is already bothersome.
“We have enough, we don’t need more,” she said of the noise, adding that she also doesn’t want more vehicle traffic in the area and has concerns about air quality if the racetrack is approved.
Two houses above hers on the hill, at the property closest to the track as the crow flies, residents could hear nothing.
“It doesn’t bother us at all,” Brenda Cartier said, adding that she wasn’t opposed to the project before the test and is now definitely not opposed. “It’s just reinforced it. They’re over there and there’s no noise. We can’t hear anything.”
Sound engineers had to determine when the motorcycles had stopped by watching the time, since they could not hear the race. The test went on for 15 minutes, the same length of time as a race.
Planning Board and Town Board members took up positions throughout the area, standing at houses and on roads to get a sense of the noise level during the test. Planning Board member Brian Mattison went to Cartier Lane, which Jeremy Treadway, who proposed the racetrack, had expected to be the loudest location.
Noise did get Mattison’s attention, but it was the truck traffic, not the motorcycle race.
“I was surprised the ambient noise was that high,” he said.
As for the motorcycles, he didn’t see a noise concern on Cartier Lane.
“You can hardly hear them. You really have to listen at this location,” he said.
Sound engineers on Cartier Lane found that the ambient noise averaged 47 decibels to 51 decibels, peaking at 56 decibels with the loudest traffic. During the race, the noise level averaged 50 decibels to 55 decibels.
The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 29 and may discuss the project then. However, reports and other supporting documentation are technically supposed to be delivered to the town 10 days before the meeting at which they will be discussed. That means the sound reports would have had to be delivered by last Friday to be in time for the August meeting. That means the sound reports may be discussed at the board’s September meeting instead.