United Rentals of Canada would use the property at 5119 Keith Ave. for storage for some of their larger equipment. However, resident Norm Laderoute who lives on the property behind the lot on Agar Avenue says more consideration needs to be taken for noise pollution when light-industrial lots are so close to residential areas. (TerraMap screenshot)

Noise pollution a problem when light-industrial backs residential, resident says

Council torn over temporary use permit on Keith Avenue

Terrace resident’s noise-level concerns sparked debate at city council over whether or not to allow a roofing company a temporary use permit (TUP).

A&J Roofing requested a TUP to lease its empty lot at 5119 Keith Ave. to the United Rentals of Canada for extra storage of some of its larger rental equipment.

United Rentals of Canada, which provides equipment and tools for industrial and construction sites, says it needs the storage space in anticipation of increased demand as industrial projects ramp up in the region.

The space is zoned M1 (light-industrial) and requires a TUP because outdoor storage is a secondary use, not a primary use of the property. TUP’s typically last three years with the option for one-time renewal.

However, resident Norm Laderoute who lives on a neighbouring lot on Agar Avenue says more consideration needs to be taken for noise pollution when light-industrial lots are so close to residential areas.

READ MORE: City advocates for smaller residential lot sizes

“I’ve lived on Agar for probably 15 years, in that time I’ve seen probably three or four new businesses that have opened on Keith Ave.,” Laderoute says.

“But the same story seems to happen every time that another place asks [to establish] services there — there’s no consideration moving from M1 light industrial to residential.”

According to the city’s zoning and noise control bylaws, there are no restrictions as to when a business can operate on light-industrial zoned parcels. Noise becomes an issue when these properties are located so close to residential, Laderoute says.

“I work in industrial — every truck that pulls in and out has a backup alarm…and all day, that’s what you’re going to hear. I don’t want to spend my next 15 years listening to that,” he says.

These concerns could become more frequent in the future as more business comes into the city.

The stretch of light-industrial zoned properties along Keith Avenue and the residential properties along Agar Avenue are separated by Pohle Avenue, an undeveloped narrow stretch of road.

United Rentals of Canada would use 300 feet of the 400-foot property, leaving a little more than 100-foot distance between it and Laderoute’s backyard. Tree clearing on the location over the years has also left little buffer to dampen the noise.

“Perhaps there needs to be something written in that [zoning] bylaw that pertains to how it’s stored and how it’s screened. It’s not as simple as just a zoning change to accommodate something,” Laderoute says.

He used the car wash on Keith Ave. as an example of another business that does not effectively screen noise, which can be “shockingly quite loud with its blower motors that are on all the time.”

“We have stuff all over the place starting at Keith and every time we allow another business to not be run properly, it’s just a trickle-down effect…there’s no pride over there, and it all stems from what you see when you cross over [the rail tracks],” he says.

READ MORE: Industrial noise still keeping Terrace resident awake

Councillors Lynne Christiansen, Brian Downie, and Jessica McCallum-Miller voted against issuing the permit and asked to refer it back to staff.

“We have that strip of light-industrial and strip of residential and we’re going to have to find a way to work around this as best we can,” Christiansen says.

“I think we have to enforce more of a setback from the back of the properties so they’re not right up against the residential, there needs to be a buffer in there. And we have to look at operational hours when there are really loud noises.”

However, councillors James Cordeiro, Evan Ramsay, Sean Bujtas and Mayor Carol Leclerc disagreed, saying that the request currently fits the zoning bylaw, and light industrial property uses typically do not generate significant noise.

“As much as I hear your concerns, given its zoning I don’t see how you can deny the application,” Cordeiro says.

In the end, council voted 4-3 in favour of the permit, while recognizing zoning in the area may need to be addressed in the future.



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