Commission still working towards Cascades noise solution

By Samantha Joseph
Outlook writer

A longstanding issue surrounding the best form of sound barrier between residents of the Myers Park neighborhood and Cascades Park is in limbo.

The uncertainty began three weeks ago when the Planning Commission voted down plans for construction of condo units on a trek of city-owned land. The 9-acres property buffers the neighborhood and the park, adjacent to the Edison restaurant.

Conversations between the city and the Myers Park Neighborhood Association took another turn this past Wednesday night, when city commissioners offered to consider yet another plan intended to be a sound barrier.



But whatever plan is agreed on will have the involvement of the neighborhood association, said commissioner Gil Ziffer.

“There is a need to build something like this (a sound barrier) and that might be the right place to do it but before we make this decision the neighborhood needs to have a big part of helping us decide.
The Myers Park association contended since the opening of Cascades Park that sounds from concerts was too loud. The city has since made concessions by changing the sound system and it plans to cover the back of the stage to help contain the sound.

“I’m glad that they are doing what we call a reset button which is starting over where we should have which is talking to the neighbors first before they decide what to do with the property which belongs to the parks,” said Heather Flemming, a resident of Myers Park for 22 years. “It’s public land so they should always engage the neighbors; that’s how I feel about it.

“I have vested interest in what happens in the area because my home is here.”

During its weekly meeting last Wednesday, commissioners took up consideration of building housing units for persons with cognitive or developmental disabilities. The idea was sent to staff to study the possibility of rezoning and other issues that might surface because Myers Park is a historic district.
Initially the neighborhood association agreed to construction of a 30-foot wall as the sound buffer. However, the aesthetics of a wall didn’t go over well. That took the search for a solution to proposal of the condo units, which the Planning Commission turned down.
And, so the search for a resolution continues.

“This is the kind of out of the box thinking we ought to be looking at all the time as we look at development or what we call infield development,” said Commissioner Curtis Richardson. “What we found is that so many times, now we have neighborhoods come before us opposing development because they were not involved in the initial decision making in terms of what type of development would go in those areas.”