Many questions revolved around the new Class 4 area which sets
less stringent noise criteria for new development in areas
with existing stationary sources, i.e. new residential development
near existing industries. For example, the sound level limits
allow noise reduction credit to be given for closed windows in
buildings with a ventilation system (e.g. central air), and so
allow higher decibel levels outdoors.
Developers can apply to their municipality for a Class 4
designation to allow them to construct new sensitive land uses
in proximity to existing, lawfully established and approved
stationary sources. Municipalities could also initiate the process.
The MOE does not intend that industries will be able to take the
initiative to have an area designated Class 4. Thus, NPC 300 is not
intended to offer any solution for existing land use conflicts, or
for pre-1986 noise sources that used to be grandfathered and do not
now hold an environmental compliance approval.
Similarly, the MOE does not intend Class 4 to be applicable on
properties with existing or already zoned noise sensitive
land uses(s) or Class 3 (rural) areas. However, the final
decision on which areas are to be Class 4 rests with land use
planning authorities, not with the MOE. This may allow
municipalities to be more generous in their use of Class 4 than the
MOE currently expects.
The discussion also showed that a number of grey areas remain in
the interpretation of the guideline. The MOE intends to watch
carefully to see how the guideline is used, and to consider further
amendments later if required.
NPC 300 does not address sound / vibrations from blasting,
wind turbines and landfills, which have their own guidance.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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