The dog daycare, the pension asks questions about barking dogs, traffic
SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The most recent meeting regarding a doggy day care and overnight boarding project in South Brunswick mainly focused on how noise would affect the neighborhood.
Matthew Coder appeared before the South Brunswick Zoning Adjustment Board on Aug. 5 in support of an application for the dog boarding, which would be on his existing residential property at 51 Orchardside Drive.
Coder previously said he had owned the 7.5-acre property with his wife since August 2018.
The property is in an agricultural zone although the residences are across the street. The property is bordered by agricultural land intended for farms and nurseries. There is a single family home to the west and a house to the east along the road.
To put his professional experience in context, Coder said he currently owns and operates Matt Walks Dogs LLC. He is also a dog trainer and has worked for the Plainsboro Recreation Department teaching dog and puppy obedience, as well as dog sport (agility) classes.
For Homestead Hounds LLC, who – on their property, Coder said the plan is to operate a dog day care center during daylight hours for socializing purposes. He said there would be indoor and outdoor play tracks, separated by dogs under and over 30 pounds.
The interior area is said to have several gates, gates and fences, he said. Dogs would be allowed off leash in play areas, but under supervision.
Outdoor runs would measure 50 feet by 100 feet for large dogs and 50 feet by 79 feet for small dogs.
There would be a maximum of 50 dogs on the site at the same time.
For the overnight boarding component of the plan, a maximum of 26 dogs would be allowed.
He said it won’t be a retail center or a pet store, and it won’t be a training center.
Coder has previously said any dog that barks excessively or poses a “behavioral threat” will be refused admission to the program.
During the August 5 meeting, Benjamin Mueller explained the noise reports of February 19, 2020 and December 7, 2020.
He said acceptable daytime noise should measure 65 dba (A-weighted decibels), while residential receivers should average 50 dba from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
He described the dog barks as “impulsive sounds,” meaning they last less than a second. However, he said, although they are shorter in duration, they are of a higher magnitude.
According to the noise guidelines, this allows an acceptable level of 80 dba per bark. He said this type of noise is measured as a slow response because that’s how the human ear reacts the same way. Indeed, a recording microphone would measure the pressure more quickly.
At night, Mueller said four or more pulse sounds in an hour would not be tolerated.
He said this was in line with the South Brunswick Noise Ordinance, which states that no animals are allowed to create sounds that disturb the peace. This is defined as the vocalization of a constant pulse for five minutes, or intermittent noise for 20 minutes.
Mueller said tests with a Doberman Pinscher showed an average of 77 dba at 25 feet at the fence. Barking 150 feet from the nearest property line, the barks measured 61 to 64 dba. For the home located 250 feet from the exercise area, the sound measured 52 to 60 dba.
Mueller said these levels are fully in line with state and township ordinances.
He also noted that, for example, 20 dogs will not bark “harmoniously”, but it could hypothetically that there could be periods of increased frequency, for example, one bark per second. He said in his opinion, however, “that does not happen”.
“Any frenzied barking would be immediately controlled,” he said.
The pole barn where the indoor facility would be located is 75 feet from the adjacent property.
There are only internal renovations planned for the pole barn, with the exception of some exterior lighting as there is no light in the building, according to a previous testimony by architect Ricardo Perez.
Using one of Coder’s dogs inside the unfinished building, Mueller said that of the 12 barks recorded, the loudest was 91 dba. However, that would be lower once the improvements are made to the building, he said.
He said that while standing on the property line, barking from inside the building was measured at 55 dba under a slow metric.
The plan is to use Armstrong Optima ceiling tiles which have an absorption rate of 0.95. It also prevents sound from going through the roof, Mueller said.
In addition, a 5-inch-thick covered fiberglass will allow sound to be immediately absorbed, he said, in addition to lowering other frequencies.
“It will be a very balanced and acoustically dampened environment (indoors),” Mueller said.
There were also discussions as to whether the gravel driveway and parking lot should be paved. From a maintenance and traffic standpoint, professional engineer Frank Antisell said he was concerned about a fire truck or garbage truck traveling on “sandy ground”. He said snow and dust could also be a problem.
Linking the sound issue to the condition of the parking lot, Mueller said Coder’s van driving on the gravel road was only 57 to 63 dba at the property line; the code limit is 65 dba. He also noted that the nearest truck was 30 feet from the property line.
And, he says, the noise already present from cars, airplanes or nature can register 55 to 60 dba.
Regarding traffic, Project engineer Douglas Polyniak said the property will not be a high trigger generator.
The facility would be open from 7 am to 7 pm all week for landings; Coder has previously said he expects the busiest hours to be before and after work on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
He previously said there would be a maximum of five customers on the site at a time, for about two minutes each, according to the traffic engineer analysis.
Studies from 2018 indicated that during peak periods, 33 vehicles entered the property in the morning and 24 left the property in the morning; and 27 entering in the evening and 25 leaving in the evening.
The studies for March 2021 are slightly higher than those for 2018, indicating that during peak periods there were 34 vehicles entering in the morning and 31 exiting in the morning, and 30 entering in the evening and 29 exiting in the evening.
For the planned location, Polyniak said he expects 15 vehicles to enter and exit during rush hour, which is roughly one vehicle entering or exiting the Orchardside Drive project every two minutes.
He said this would not result in any negative impact on the site or the associated intersections.
Application will continue at a future meeting, with more expert testimony and public comment expected.
For more information visit southbrunswicknj.gov
Contact Jennifer Amato at [email protected]