The noise emitted by the new Gainesville Renewable Energy Center-run biomass plant, which some have compared to the sound of screaming jet engines, moved about 10 Turkey Creek subdivision residents to voice their concerns at the Gainesville City Commission meeting Thursday.
“This is condemnation without compensation,” Russ Pisano, 72, told commissioners.
Pisano said no one had said anything to him about the possible effects of the biomass plant. He only learned about the side effects after it had been built.
Turkey Creek residents have also complained the plant causes a sticky wood residue to form on cars left outside overnight. Some said it wafts a foul smell of musty vegetation through the air and lowers home values.
Pisano has taken decibel measurements, and when the plant is running, he said, it creates a 20 to 30 decibel jump in noise level.
He told commissioners he has not slept well for the past few days because the plant had been running at night. Other residents said they’ve had similar experiences.
“Sleep deprivation is not allowed for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay because it’s considered torture,” said Peter Perkins, 67, a resident of Turkey Creek. But the Turkey Creek community has been subjected to that “torture” every night for the past few days, he said.
The residents have started up a petition in hopes that Gainesville will apply its already established noise ordinance to the facility. The organizers are requesting the biomass plant only run between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and that it be turned off at night. At the commission meeting, they requested the same reduction of hours.
The city commissioners responded saying the same thing Albert Morales, the managing director of GREC, told residents in a letter: GREC is planning to take noise level measurements around the facility and see if there are any modifications that can be made to the plant to help reduce the noise.
City Commissioner Yvonne Hinson-Rawls told residents the city does have a noise ordinance and may at some time start issuing citations to the plant.
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 9/20/2013 under the headline "Biomass plant could get noise citations after residents complained"