Local government representatives from Manhattan and Riley County on Thursday analyzed a proposed noise impact notice policy aimed to alert residents and potential residents near Fort Riley about booming sounds coming from the military base.
Monty Wedel, Riley County planning and special projects director, discussed noise zones near Fort Riley during the meeting. The zones encompass parts of Manhattan, Riley and Ogden. Wedel plans to visit Riley and Ogden in the near future to discuss the proposed notice.
The proposed notice includes information about the noise levels and what is emitting the noises, including “large caliber weapons” and other explosives.
Zone II noise levels can range from 62 to 70 decibels and Zone III noise levels can be greater than 70 decibels, according to the plan. The LUPZ area can expect noise impacts between 57-62 decibels, also according to the plan. People near Fort Riley can check to see which zone a residence or property is located at gis.rileycountyks.gov. Fort Riley gathered the noise information in a study, Wedel said.
Wedel asked the body to take the document home and study it to see if there are any needed changes.
Area government entities would need to approve the measure befor filing it with the Riley County register of deeds office.
“We think it would be best for every jurisdiction witin Riley County that’s within that area to sign off on this, that they recommend people consider these noise attenuation methods,” Wedel said.
The body discussed the impact of the noise notice to potential buyers in the area. By filing it with the Register of Deeds, it ensures that potential buyers learn of these noises in the titlework of a home, prior to making a purchase.
“All the documentation should be there when they’re considering a purchase,” Wedel said.
Manhattan city commissioner Usha Reddi said communication between Fort Riley and cities about training and noise impacts has improved.
“That’s been a great piece of that partnership, and I think this is going to add to it,” Reddi said.
Reddi said the notice doesn’t solve the noise problem, but improves the situation.
“So I’m glad that this is going to be in place, so they know what they’re buying themselves into” Reddi said about potential buyers.
Riley County chairman Ron Wells and commissioner John Ford both said they have not heard complaints about the noise.
“I’ve never got a call or complaint … about the noise at Fort Riley,” Wells said.
Reddi said discussions about the noises take place on social media at times.
Wedel will reconvene with the body in the future after each entity discusses this notice with their respective staff members. Wedel did not specify a day or timeline to reconvene.
Green Valley area neighborhood plan
Stephan Metzger, assistant planner and zoning enforcement office in Pottawatomie County, updated the body about the Green Valley area neighborhood plan.
Green Valley is an unincorporated area just east of Manhattan in Pottawatomie County.
A Joint Land Use Study paid for the grant toward the plan. Metzger said around 300 residents received a survey about the area.
Residents also attended a series of neighborhood meetings and a town hall with more than 200 attendees.
The public discouraged multifamily home construction, Metzger said. Metzger suggested single-family homes up to fourplexes in the area.
Additionally, Metzger said a conflict arose between the residents, consultants and planning staff about the area’s rural charm, but this plan hopes to cater to the needs of all residents.
“For a lot of them, the character of that neighborhood is semi-rural, outside of the city; ‘we have our own sort of location that’s away from the city, and we like it out here, and we don’t want that to change,’” Metzger said. “For a lot of folks, they feel like they already live in the city; they don’t realize that they don’t live in the city.
“But we still wanted to cater to the folks who felt like this is their sort of piece of paradise.”
Metzger said 1,800 new units are expected in the area between now and 2040. He said the public wants to restrict commercial properties along the Highway 24 corridor.
Metzger said he hopes the Pottawatomie County Planning Commission and Zoning Office adopts the plan in September, with the Pottawatomie County Commission adopting it soon after.