The Saia saga will continue into the new year as the Burr Ridge Village Board approved a motion Monday night to give the trucking company time to implement the suggestions of the board's sound consultant, who gave a presentation at the meeting.
At the Nov. 22 meeting, the board decided to hire a consultant to provide a second opinion after the board got its first visualization and explanation of Saia's plan following the trucking company's own noise study.
The board heard from John Yerges, of Yerges Acoustics, who was favorable of much of Saia's plan, but did see room for improvements.
Yerges felt the west side of the property needed to have a 12-foot wall because the buffer of evergreen trees, although providing a good visual screen, are ineffective for mitigating sound. He believed 16 feet would be ideal for the west side wall, but that 12 feet would be acceptable.
Yerges also suggested altering the 16-foot-to-12-foot drop-off on the north side by bringing the 16-foot fence all the way to the water tower – about mid-way across the the north property line – instead of terminating about a quarter of the way.
He also said he understood that the wall needed an opening for maintenance, but recommended Saia look into either a gate, or more practically, shifting the walls and extending the overlap so sound and the line of sight would be mitigated for the Chestnut Hills subdivision residents.
Yerges said as far as mitigating the noise from trailer drops and dock plates, he didn't think the walls would be very effective. He questioned the measures that Saia had suggested.
"I think [the dock-plate pads Saia suggested at the Nov. 22 meeting] need to be tested before they are installed throughout the facility," he said. "I'm hesitant to support what I saw in the e-mails, however, I agree that the best way to mitigate the dock-plate noise is at the source."
Yerges said the pads proposed appeared to be too thin and firm and could still rattle underneath the tires or the forklifts. Yerges said that the best method of reducing trailer-drop noise was an administrative change – merely training drivers to drop trailers at lower heights so they create less noise.
Chestnut Hills resident and spokesman Steve Less said that he felt a 16-foot wall should go around the entire property and that it should be put up sooner than later to get things rolling.
"I think we need to start somewhere and it's obvious that this won't be solved tonight," he said. "My concern is that 12-feet doesn't hit the [smokestacks on top of the trucks] and people on their second story balconies are still going to have to see the top of the 13-and-a-half-foot truck cab."
Less suggested that mitigation should perhaps be turned over to the Illinois Board of Pollution for another review. Mayor Garry Grasso agreed the plan needed work, but didn't support giving up the current course of action.
"I'm not hearing the plan is not workable," Grasso said.
Attorney Scott Hargadon, of Chicago-based Bryan Cave LLP and legal council for Saia, did not speak at the meeting except to say that the company was planning on testing the dock-plate silencers before installing them throughout the facility.
Saia's sound engineer will review the suggestions from Yerges and likely address the board at the next meeting on Jan. 10, 2011.