Fargo city leaders receive finalized noise vibration study along with recommendations

Courtesy: City of Fargo
Courtesy: City of Fargo

(Fargo, ND) -- The Fargo City Commission received a final report on noise levels in the downtown Broadway area, and are now looking into potential solutions

The final Noise Vibration Study was presented to City Commissioners by Steven Martin, an Associate Principal with Veneklasen, a company that measures and reports community noise in neighborhoods, amusement parks, and hear highway structures to monitor sound levels. The Noise Vibration Study focuses on Broadway between 6th Avenue N and Northern Pacific Avenue. 

Using eight long term sound monitors and seven short term detectors, Veneklasen measured the average decibel levels along the street. The data was presented in a heat-map style, showing the highest and lowest intensity for sound in the downtown area. 

"We really wanted credible data. Not only comprehensive data, but credible data so we could return to [the data] if we did want to visit on ordinance changes or revisions later on, "said Fargo City Administrator Michael Redlinger.

The report summary presented to commissioners encouraged the city to keep the legal sound limit average at 65 db. Many recommendations cited in the report encourage the city to further define the procedures needed to define how people can know they are breaking noise ordinances, and how the city determines the ordinance is broken. In addition, he encouraged the commission to look into noise limiters for businesses, ways to set the highest level a speaker could be set in an establishment and potentially cause noise issues 

"Another thing that we recommended in the report is, that for permanent venues, adding a sound limiter to the amplification system. That way you can measure the noise outside while they are playing music [...] and the limiter can be set so the outside noise level at the property line does not exceed the 65 decibels, "said Martin.

No official actions were taken at the meeting regarding the report, besides viewing the presentation. However, Redlinger highlighted some options to the commissioners that could be viable options for reducing ambient sound in downtown Fargo. This includes the previously mentioned noise limiters, but also sound surveillance systems that notify officials to multiple loud events and updating sound ordinance.