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Black Dog Amphitheater Resolves Sound Issue

The proposed Black Dog Amphitheater in Burnsville, Minnesota, a joint project of the Minnesota Wild and concert promoter Rose Presents, has cleared a major sound issue hurdle. Following 16 months of reviews, the Metropolitan Council, in a unanimous vote yesterday (December 26), found there to be no Metropolitan Significance concerning the 19,500-capacity venue. Last week, a judge ruled that the amphitheater would not cause an undue amount of noise across the Minnesota River in Bloomington.

The 16 months of review included a Met Council sponsored mediation, a supplemental independent sound study, and a formal public hearing process.

A sound study commissioned by the Metropolitan Council as part of the mediation process concluded that noise from the facility would have "minimal'' impact and would be "rarely heard'' in the community. That study was coordinated by an independent sound expert, William Cavanaugh, in conjunction with sound consultants hired by the City of Bloomington and project developer Rose Wild.

The judge found that the project would not cause metropolitan significance if recommendations are followed. Those recommendations are included in a six-page agreement signed between the Metropolitan Council and developer Rose Wild that includes:

*Requiring a 10 foot high sound barrier around the entire rear seating area.
*Installing additional sound absorbing materials to the canopy roof, concert stage ceiling and other key areas.
*Additional controls on lawn seating area speaker systems.
*A "state-of-the-art" sound monitoring system that monitors sound at the site and at fixed locations in the community to assure compliance.
*A portable sound monitoring device to monitor sound levels periodically.
*Establishment of a neighborhood phone hot line with established follow-up procedures and informational meetings with neighbors during construction and initial concert season operation.
*Review of final facility design by representatives of the City of Burnsville and City of Bloomington.
*Review of the final facility design by the sound consultant team engaged for the Metropolitan Council's Sound Study report — including the City of Bloomington's sound consultant.
*A required annual noise monitoring plan established by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with input from the City of Bloomington and City of Burnsville.
*Maximum enclosure of facility to break line-of-sight to all residential receptors.

"The level of detail involved in the review of this project — and the extensive analysis of sound — are well beyond what would normally be required or expected,'' commented Burnsville Planning Consultant John Shardlow, of Dahlgren, Shardlow, and Uban (DSU). "In fact, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has told us that the sound studies are some of the most extensive they have seen,'' he added.

Black Dog Amphitheater is expected to host 25-35 concerts during its four-month shed season.