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PEPPERELL — Renewed debate over a special-permit request for a canine day care on 80 South Road ended with selectmen deciding to take up the issue and make a decision at their Feb. 13 meeting.

In December, a public hearing was continued so the applicant, Maureen Allen, could talk to a professional noise consultant and selectmen could perform a site visit.

Allen is requesting a special permit to use her backyard and barn as a day-care center for up to 45 dogs. A Town Hall conference room was filled to capacity with residents of Route 119 and Powhatan Road, a development off South Road.

Two separate decibel-level studies were presented. The first by David Moulton, a sound and acoustical engineer, was presented on behalf of Allen. The second was presented by Dr. Lawrence Copley for Attorney Robert Anctil, who was representing Mark Wilson, a resident of 4 Powhatan Road.

Both studies were based on Department of Environmental Protection noise regulations and measured a change in decibel levels relative to ambient noise. The regulations state that the decibel level may not increase more than 10 decibels over the ambient level 90 percent of the time.

Moulton’s study found the ambient noise level averaged over three points on the property was 45.7 decibels. He estimated the decibel level from an abutters property with barking dog noise would reach 45 decibels.

Traffic on 119, he said, causes noise pollution in the area and keeps the ambient levels at a level that would not be affected by barking in a way that would violate the EPA regulation.

Using 36 decibels as his baseline for ambient noise, Copley’s study measured LAeq, or the equivalent continuous sound level having

the same energy fluctuating over specific period. He found dogs barking would result in an increase in LAeq to 53 decibels, a 17 decibel increase.

Copley also took his ambient measurements from points on abutting properties and used actual dog barks as his measurements. Moulton’s ambience was determined by 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. averages, while Copley looked at midday periods, when traffic is typically light.

Furthermore, Moulton factored in a gapless, six-foot fence, which would attenuate the sound somewhat, he said, and would be a condition of the permit.

Selectmen Joe Sergi, after he and fellow board members had the two sound engineers defend their studies, said they must weigh the quality of life alongside the DEP regulations.

Several Heald Street residents railed against the noises coming from a nearby kennel.

“There are more than 30 dogs there. Forget the decibels, the barking goes on constantly,” Richard Aubin said.

Jillian O’Brien, a professional dog trainer and South Road resident, said dogs only bark when they are bored or excited, but can be handled if they are supervised, quieted by being given a ball or taken inside.

Powhatan Road residents brought up issues of people who work from home or work late at night.

Judy Dalton, a retiree, said, “It seems grossly unfair to think we bought houses knowing what was there and have somebody else cause a disruption by putting something which shouldn’t be there.”