A near-neighbor to the woodworking business Dendro Technologies at 4404 Corrales Road has appealed the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a site development plan for it. The Village Council will hear the appeal by Antonette Roybal during its November 10 session. The business has been operating along Hansen Road by Rick Thaler and his son, Jacob Thaler. As with other parts of the council meeting, the appeal hearing is open to the public via Zoom by calling 1-669-900-6833 for meeting 865-1469-6536# and entering password 282288#.
The council meeting begins as 6:30 p.m. although no specific time is set for the appeal. At its September 16 meeting the P&Z commission unanimously approved the Thalers’ proposed site development plan on the condition that buffering walls for noise control be erected on the south, east and north sides of their property. Commissioners specified that six-foot buffer fences would have to be erected within one year on the south and east sides and within two years on the north side. The primary piece of equipment for Dendro Technologies is a band saw that is used to cut slab planks to make furniture and other purposes. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No. 13 September 19, 2020 “Rick Thaler and Son Open Woodworking Business.”)
During the commission’s September session the primary concern voiced by nearby property owners was noise from the saw —and the subjective nature of the Village’s regulations on noise. Commissioners commended the Thalers for addressing neighbors’ complaints or concerns. Brian Whalley, who lives at 4372 Corrales Road, said his property “runs almost the entire length on the south side, we have had zero complications from the business and welcome it.”
But Roybal, the person appealing, lives at 43721/2 Corrales Road. She said the noise is “very annoying and it’s constant.” She said normal voice is about 50 to 65 decibels whereas the whine from the saw has been 95 decibels or above. That assertion was challenged by P&Z commission Chairman McCandless. She did not take decibel readings, but offered to provide an audio recording of the noise. Rick Thaler said he had provided to the P&Z administrator a decibel reading made by an application on his iPhone after he had installed noise buffers. He said it showed “about 55 decibels on the south border when the saw was fully engaged and running. The 50-decibel sample is from Corrales Road on a normal day without the saw running; that’s the ambient noise on a regular day.”
In addition to erecting sound buffers, the Thalers had attached a muffler to the saw “which changed the frequency of the noise and made it less whiney. Before we added the sound abatement, standing right next to the saw we were at about 85 decibels, and standing south of the tin shed which is closest to our nearest neighbor, the sound was at about 65 decibels, spiking to 75 decibels. And now it spikes at 55 decibels” roughly the same level as traffic from Corrales Road, he said.
Another nearby resident, Michael Roake, husband of Corrales’ mayor, said they live about 350 feet east of the Dendro operation. He said he wants to promote business in Corrales but has two concerns: compatibility with the residential character and noise. “I did hear a whine once, and it was so distinctive and unusual it prompted me to take a look. If it is a question of noise abatement, I would welcome abatement to the east.”
Thaler said he and his son are willing to erected whatever sound abatement is required, although they want to know whether they will be issued a business license before spending thousands of dollars on the fencing. “We were waiting to see if we were going t get our business license before spending another thousand dollars on sound abatement,” Thaler said. “We fully intend to do the sound abatement to the east. If we get a complaint from the north, we’ll do more there.”
Several villagers spoke in favor of the site development plan, including former Corrales Planning and Zoning Administrator Claudia “Taudy” Smith. “He’s going above what our ordinances require so that they can fit in with the neighbors.” She said she has known Rick Thaler for 45 years. “This is exactly who we want in our commercial district.” The council’s decision on the Roybal appeal could not be reported in this issue.