Rock Sports Complex Noise a Puzzle
Many neighbor complaints of noise, but data collected by City of Franklin too technical for county to analyze.
The Rock Sports Complex and Ballpark Commons sits on land at 7900 Crystal Ridge Rd. that was sold to the developers, ROC Ventures, in 2017 by Milwaukee County, and a sliver of the site is still owned by the county and leased to the developers.
The county parks department has now been charged with performing a sound study. As parks worked to find someone to perform the study, it looked at available sound data from measurements taken by the City of Franklin, but has been unable to analyze the data “due to both the large volume of data and lack of specific technical expertise,” according to a report from the department.
Until recently the City of Franklin has shrugged off residents complaints about noise because their development agreement was written in a way that nearly ensures noise violations can’t be enforced.
This latest report from the county indicates that what data exists on the noise at the complex is so difficult to analyze it requires specialized professional expertise. This raises the question, if the county can’t analyze the data to determine the sound coming from the complex, how can Franklin?
In the original agreement between the county and ROC Ventures for the land, it was stipulated that a comprehensive sound study would be undertaken by the developers. But the Franklin Common Council later voted against a comprehensive sound study in the city’s development agreement, overruling advice from the Franklin planning staff at the time.
The consequence of this has been that citizens living around the Rock Sports Complex have complained for years that they are plagued by incredibly loud noise from the site.
Their complaints, however, haven’t led to any sanctions against the complex. Reports from devices measuring sound at the site have shown it exceeds the 79 decibel level, but never for 30 straight minutes.
The data Franklin has provided the county is so “robust” and “technical” that the parks department hasn’t been able to make heads or tails of it. The department has begun looking for an outside consultant, a private business to help analyze the data.
“And yet here I have a report that says we don’t have anybody in the department that is able to make sense out of the data that we’ve been given,” Weishan said at a meeting of the board’s Audit Committee.
Former Supervisor Steve Taylor served on the board and as a Franklin alderman as the Rock Sports Complex and Ball Park Commons developments went before both governmental bodies for key approvals. He has professed in a blog post that “if I wasn’t in office, the Ballpark Commons project would not happen.”
Taylor now works as the executive director of the ROC Foundation, the non-profit arm of the development company ROC Ventures.
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