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Fab project adheres to strict noise laws

The Town of Malta has a new, stricter noise ordinance, but it doesn’t apply to the most significant construction project in the town: theGlobal Foundries microchip plant.

After several revisions, the Malta Town Board has adopted an updated noise ordinance that sets thresholds for noise levels within the town at 50 decibels from the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and 60 decibels between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The ordinance also limits the use of power tools (including chainsaws and leaf blowers) to during the day and limits construction hours on Sundays.

Those parameters do not apply to the 222 acres within the Luther Forest Tech Campus that are host to GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 project, though.

“The general town code and local laws are applicable to the entire town, and then there are those specific to the zoning for the Planned Unit Development within Global Foundries,” said Anthony Tozzi, Malta’s building and planning director.

Limits for the sound leaving the property lines are stricter than those in the rest of the town: 45 decibels at night and 55 decibels during the day.

Noise at the construction site was an issue long before ground was broken.

“We have stayed within the standards since construction began in June of 2009. Right now we’re in the gray area between the construction phase and the operations phase,” said Travis Bullard, a spokesman for GlobalFoundries.

“There have been some complaints from adjacent neighbors who were finding levels in excess of those limits. We’ve been hearing reasons for the excess including (ground) elevation differences,” said Tozzi of complaints.

Since 2009, Global Foundries has received 125 calls via a 24/7 hotline for reporting any issues associated with the site.

“Of those calls, 42 were job seekers, 62 were from businesses (not related to the noise), 11 were from telemarketers and eight were noise complaints. The noise was not related to us but had to do with other projects in the town,” said Bullard.

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