Agreement Could Be Near In Middlebush Park Sound System Controversy

Middlebush Sound Test1

The ad hoc committee formed to strike a compromise in the Middlebush Park sound system controversy held its first meeting Oct. 19.

The ad hoc committee formed to strike a compromise in the dustup over a sound system in Middlebush Park may have accomplished its mission after one meeting.

The committee is comprised of four Township Council members, three Middlebush area residents, three representatives from the township’s Pop Warner football program, and a neutral resident.

At issue is whether a sound system that would mainly benefit the Pop Warner program can be installed in the park’s football stadium with the system’s sound being heard by Middlebush area residents.

Nine of the committee’s 11 members met for several hours in the morning of Oct. 19 to conduct a sound test at two properties on Charles Street and Gauguin Way. By the end of the session, it appeared as though representatives of residents and Pop Warner had come to an agreement on an acceptable volume for the system.

Township administrator Bob Vornlocker led the tests, speaking by walkie-talkie to Councilman Carl R. A. Wright (D-Ward 4), who was announcing Pop Warner playoff games going on at the park. Vornlocker directed Wright to raise the volume of the system until the sound could be heard by the committee, which first gathered in the backyard of Charles Street resident Bryan Bidlack.

Once that volume was established, Vornlocker directed Wright to lower the volume until the committee could not hear the system.

The committee then moved to Gauguin Way, assembling on park property near two homes, where Vornlocker repeated the test.

Decibel levels at both locations were checked by a representative from the Somerset County Department of Health, but levels did not reach anywhere near the township sound ordinance’s threshold of 65 decibels.

At the conclusion of the tests, Middlebush representatives said they would be satisfied with the sound system set at the level at which they could not hear it at the property lines.

The committee will meet at least one more time, and Vornlocker said he wanted to conduct sound level tests when there was no one else in the park.


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