Nearly a year after it was formed, the recreational vehicles subcommittee issued its final report on Aug. 30 with the recommendation that the Granby Planning and Zoning Commission encourage the Board of Selectmen to adopt a comprehensive noise ordinance, enforceable by the town’s police department.
The report will be discussed at tonight’s planning & zoning commission meeting at 7 p.m.
The committee, according to the report, reached its conclusion after considering four possible recommendations: outright ban on recreational vehicles in town/in residential zones; establishment of a public riding site; land use regulations; and ordinance regulations.
“As the subcommittee was unable to establish a specific set of RV regulations, the members contemplated the development of a special use permit, whereby a homeowner could seek special permission from the Planning and Zoning Commission for RV use,” the report states. “However, there was no agreement on what types of conditions would be appropriate and it was agreed that the enforcement of such conditions would be difficult if not impossible. Additionally, applications for such special use permits often create hostilities between neighbors, which are then voiced during the public hearing process.”
The subcommittee, which convened from October 2012 to June 2013, was created in response to the controversy surrounding the use of recreational vehicles - though mostly dirt bikes - in town.
The highest profile case is that of the Cavaciutis, who have been embroiled in a legal dispute with the town and a neighbor over the Cavaciutis’ son’s dirt bike riding on their 7-acre parcel of land. A cease and desist order issued by Zoning Enforcement Officer Bill Volovski in May 2011 remains in effect.
The report noted that the subcommittee went to a live demonstration at the Cavaciutis, where it was noted that “even when they were standing on Candlewood Lane, the noise was loud and annoying. Most were surprised at the level of noise even quite a distance from the RV activity. (Informally and unofficially, various members held noise meters that registered upwards of 70 to 90 decibels even at this distance.) All of the members who were there agreed that they would not want to live next to this type of activity.”
“The demonstration had caused a number of the members to reconsider whether RV activity should be allowed within residential zones at all, unless the noise could be effectively muffled or so distant that it would not disturb neighboring property owners,” the report said. “The demonstration cemented the group’s opinion that the way noise travels could not be properly evaluated, predicted and judged through a special use permit process or regulated through zoning regulations.”As such, the subcommittee members concluded that the best way to address the issue is through a comprehensive noise ordinance.