Loud businesses, particularly car washes, spurred talks of Seminole County amending its development process to try to stop noisy neighbors at Tuesday’s Seminole County Commission meeting.
“They’re coming and there’s more and more of them,” Commissioner Lee Constantine said, talking about a recent growth of car washes that have spurred noise complaints. “They’re like super washes.”
During public comments, complaints from residents kicked off discussion about loud blowers on dryers at car wash businesses, and extra traffic from businesses along Alafaya Trail next to residential streets and of plazas being built seemingly without noise being considered.
A Wash N Go car wash about to open just south of Oviedo city limits along Alafaya Trail drew particular ire from residents, as one claimed that county sheriff’s deputies were possibly tricked by owners who the residents said only turned on some of the wash’s equipment when conducting noise testing.
Commissioners also mentioned problems with some cities that border unincorporated county land building developments that don’t adhere to county noise level codes.
“The City of Casselberry had approved a commercial development that backed up to a residential development in unincorporated Seminole County,” Commissioner Jay Zembower said. “When the City of Casselberry did it, they did not do it with consideration (of noise issues).”
Rebecca Hammock of the Seminole County planning department said that she does not believe the county’s site plan checklist includes noise abatement measures.
Zembower suggested amending the county’s site planning procedures to include making sure sites take measures to reduce noise.
Resident John Hovey, who lives across the street from the Wash N Go that’s trying to pass noise inspection before it opens, said that enforcement and testing is the problem, with Seminole County Sheriff’s Deputies being put into position to test for noise issues. Hovey said the deputies told him “[We] have never done this.” And that business owners can exploit that deputies don’t know what to test for at a business.
“The sheriff’s department shows up, they run one blower instead of three, and this is what happens,” Hovey said. “The (sheriff’s deputies) came out and say ‘Ok turn it on’ and, turn what on? They’re supposed to be at full capacity as if they were fully operational, and unless that’s required, we’re going to get screwed every time.”
Zembower said that, though the county has rules to prevent noisy businesses, there’s an issue with steps in the process.
“I understand we’re putting [businesses] on notice, and they have to meet [noise regulations], and the burden’s on them, but obviously the burden’s falling on the residents because here they are.”
“We need to look at this moving forward,” Constantine said. “This is going to be a hot topic. This is a hot topic right now, and there’s a lot of others that are going to come through.”