Noise barrier proposed for drive-thru

Andrew Robinson
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Mary Brown’s on Topsail Road tries to satisfy neighbourhood concerns

Jeffry Haggett of engineering consulting firm Genivar Inc. spoke at a public meeting Thursday night at St. John’s City Hall to discuss a proposed drive-thru for a Mary Brown’s location on Topsail Road. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

A proposed drive-thru for a Mary Brown’s on Topsail Road is once again under consideration, but the owner appears to be listening to local residents’ concerns about the potential for noise pollution.

Jeffry Haggett of Genivar Inc., an engineering firm hired by franchise operator Michelle Maher, discussed plans to erect an eight-foot tall acoustic fence that would in theory maintain noise levels to what residents of Ferryland Street West are used to without the presence of a drive-thru.

Haggett contacted Atlantic Acoustical Associates to create an acoustic report and a recommendation for reducing noise from the drive-thru. It proposed the creation of the fence.

The fence would be built on the other side of the existing fences for homes on Ferryland Street West and have a surface weight of six-pounds per square-foot of space.

“This is an important aspect, because they determined that weight per square-foot will help absorb the sound energy coming off of that area,” said Haggett. “If it was any thinner, you’d risk noise passing on.”

City manager of planning and development Ken O’Brien said the fence would be solid throughout and have a minimal design. He added it has not been determined what material would be used to make the fence.

Angus Barrett, one of the Ferryland Street West residents who lives directly behind the Mary Brown’s location that’s attached to an Irving Gas Bar and Convenience Store, appeared to be receptive to the acoustic fence proposal.

“The idea of the acoustic fence moved up certainly, I think, will take care of a lot of the issues we have,” he said. “But then it creates another couple of issues.”

He asked about how close it would be to the existing fences. O’Brien said there would obviously need to be some space to allow residents to be able to work on their fences without having the acoustic fence interfere with such work.

Barrett also suggested it would need to be maintained and said the city should get a guarantee from the owner on that issue.

Another local resident expressed concern about the possibility that if Mary Brown’s were to leave that location, a Tim Hortons operator might look to move in. He noted a nearby Tim Hortons on Topsail Road does not currently have a drive-thru and said it is a known fact Tim Hortons drive-thrus create the most traffic among food establishments.

O’Brien noted every application for a drive-thru must go back to the director of engineering to take into consideration stacking spaces available. If the occupant of a space is found to have inadequate stacking space for vehicles, then it will not be permitted to have a drive-thru.

Ward 3 Coun. Bruce Tilley, the organizer for Thursday’s meeting, suggested there would not be enough space there to accommodate the amount of traffic a Tim Hortons drive-thru typically attracts.

Marjorie Rogers, another Ferryland Street West resident, expressed concerns about air pollution in the area created by idling vehicles. Both she and her husband are cancer survivors, and she expects the fumes from vehicles will seep into her bedroom. She also said the presence of a drive-thru will decrease the value of her home on the real estate market.

The drive-thru, measured from the edge of the asphalt along the lane behind the location, would be 10 metres from the residential properties, falling in compliance with city guidelines requiring at least a 10-metre buffer zone.

That buffer zone was reduced last June from 15 metres to 10. Tilley was among councillors who voted against the amendment.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Tim Hortons, Genivar, Atlantic Acoustical Associates Irving Gas Bar and Convenience Store

Geographic location: Topsail Road

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Recent comments

  • California pete from Nfld
    July 15, 2013 - 11:49

    You are so right Margie. Ask Jeffry Haggett where he lives and you can be sure it is not near a noisy place, sound wall or not, those BOOM BOXES carry sound no matter what one dose. Have a nice night.

  • Bryan Harris
    July 13, 2013 - 07:15

    Let's use the same fence then to allow the family camp site in Blackhead.

  • Neil Kelly Gambo
    July 12, 2013 - 21:46

    You want yer Chicken? Park and Pick it Up! my mudder lives behind there and she don't want it! Wash Court SUCKS!!!

  • Marshall Art
    July 12, 2013 - 18:13

    An acoustic fence is nice, but , generally speaking, the smells, the traffic, the noise and the gulls that come with drive-thrus are really a pain in the ass to residents in the immediate area. One wonders if developers and municipal councils don't give a $hit about what residents have to put up with as long as it's not in their backyard.

  • John
    July 12, 2013 - 15:31

    They should have a buffer of 26 Meters, but ordinary taxpayers are ignored try and do this in the preceous downtown , only certain people "quality of life" matters .It will be interesting to see if those that lobbied certain councillors will also contribute to those same councillors election campaign .

  • Gekko
    July 12, 2013 - 14:22

    This certainly seems like typical NIMBYism. There are a few issues I have with drive-throughs, but this is not one of them. They're not THAT noisy, and if you don't want to deal with noise you should not live just off Topsail Road. There are at least two drive-throughs just down the street which are also backed by residential areas. If the owner is building this fence just to be a good neighbour then more power to him, but he should not be required when many other business owners in the city are getting a free pass.

  • Margie Ivey
    July 12, 2013 - 14:08

    Good Luck with that. I live in the area behind the Burger King on Torbay Rd. Between deliveries at 5:30 in the morning, people with the radio blasting (poor souls must be deaf), occassional visits by the party bus at 12:00 in the night that feels the whole neighbourhood is up and wants to listen to thier music not to mention other issues. (Did I mention the visits by our friendly neighbourhood seagulls). There should NEVER be any fast food restaurants or drive thrus located in residential areas. If these restaurants had been proposed in areas where our city councillors live they would never have been approved.