Monday, September 3, 2007

Answering questions from Aspen Ridge neighborhood/council tour

PHOTO made a few hours after the rain ended the morning of August 25. People on the tour August 24 walked on dry yellow and red dirt in the roadbed that is shown with standing water only 24 hours later.
If you have seen the video, then you'll have noticed these questions went unanswered.
If not, please revisit these questions and answers after you see the video on gov or Cat channel later this week. See schedule in previous post.
Let's answer the lost questions here and now. Us old folk deliberate before speaking and the moment to answer can pass fast, especially when a bunch of people have their own questions and answers as on the Aspen Ridge walking tour video (see schedule in preceding post).

Watching the walking tour on TV on Monday, I noticed that some questions went without good answers:
Brenda Thiel, one of the alderwomen for Ward I, asked how long are detention ponds, retention ponds or rain gardens supposed to hold the water.

Stormwater: In order to prevent flooding and to prevent siltation downstream, they must hold ALL the water that enters them until the silt settles out before their gates are opened to release the water. Otherwise, they serve only to prevent a small portion of the flooding and NONE of the siltation of the river and the lake. In these POA-controlled developments, the POA would be responsible for opening the gates for slow release maybe 24 hours after heavy rain.

Tree preservation: Jeremy Pate approved the tree-preservation plan for Aspen Ridge back in late 2004, commenting in a public meeting that allowing replacement rather than protection wouldn't affect anyone's vista. That occurred during a time when no tree-preservation person was employed by the city and Pate was adding that duty to his job as leader of the planning division. Obviously, he didn't have time to check out the "vista" from all directions around the site.
Unfinished storm-drain question from Lauren Hawkins got no definitive answer but a car flew off the end of S. Duncan and into the hole dug out for the southeast exit and entry to Aspen Ridge from the intersection of S. Duncan and W. 11th Street only two or three days after the meeting and was reported to appropriate authorities (see earlier post for photos and comment):
Apparently, no one in power came out to see the unfinished storm-drain that the car went over to crash into the dug-out entry to Aspen Ridge this week, so it remains without a safety fence and may catch another car at any moment, maybe killing someone this time. I hope I am not forced to photograph an accident worse than that one last week.
Hank Broyles asked whether a building wasn't better than a tree for baffling the sound of the railroad. A tree? The question sounded so absurd that I answered with a joking line about Fayetteville's love of trees. But the answer was that TREES are better than buildings for the purpose. If the one tree is larger than the one building, then maybe the building could equal the tree or be better. But thousands of trees were taken down on the Aspen Ridge site between the railroad and the neighborhood to the east.
True, the buildings will echo the sound back toward the railroad, hitting the side of Rochier Hill. However, that won't help the people in the buildings nearest the railroad. They'll get hit with that sound, plus the echo, plus the sound echoing back from the buildings across the giant retention pond from them.
Hank apparently doesn't live by a railroad:
No, Hank, buildings don't baffle sound as well as trees. Our neighborhood had THOUSANDS of trees between us and the railroad before the timber was all cleared. The trees are a diverse, uneven surface, with gaps and then limbs and leaves and trunks of another and a gap and more and more trees. A building reflects light and sound. Notice that walls and ceilings made to quieten rooms are not slick. Various rough, uneven finishes have been developed to baffle sound as well as to soften reflection of light.
Careful selection of outside material must be made if the railroad sound is to be reduced by the buildings. And buildings on fill material will shake a much as buildings on native soil. Buildings certainly won't be better than the forest that was there four years ago.

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