Noise from a proposed racetrack at the former Cooper Stadium likely will have a profound effect on the immediate neighborhood but not as much on German Village, according to a consultant's report.

Noise from a proposed racetrack at the former Cooper Stadium likely will have a profound effect on the immediate neighborhood but not as much on German Village, according to a consultant's report.

Acoustics expert Eric Zwerling said that based on his sound models, noise drifting from Cooper Park would be considerable for Franklinton and those attending services in Green Lawn Cemetery.

But if the weather conditions are right, those who live and work in German Village, Merion Village, Schumacher Place and neighborhoods across the Scioto River might not even hear the engines grinding on Fridays and Saturdays when races will be held though that will be variable, Zwerling said.

"There are times when it will be audible," he said. "They will know there's a racetrack off in the distance."

Sensitivity to noise will play a role as to whether it will be considered excessive or tolerable, he said.

"It's difficult to make an assumption of what an individual's response to noise will be," Zwerling said.

In the second of two public meetings on the subject, Zwerling spoke to a crowd of about 75 at a Southwest Area Commission meeting May 19. No action was taken by the commission.

Zwerling, president of the Noise Consultancy in New Jersey, was hired by Redevelop Our Area Responsibly, or ROAR, a group that opposes the automotive complex. ROAR is composed of representatives from many South Side neighborhoods, including German Village and Merion Village, as well as businesses and environmental groups.

Zwerling's noise study counters one commissioned by Arshot Investment Corp., the project's developer.

Zwerling argued that the study commissioned by Arshot was flawed, and that engineers used inconsistent models compared to other studies.

He said his data show that races reaching 95 decibels will create a noise level that reaches into the Franklinton residential neighborhood and Green Lawn. The city of Columbus says the decibel level cannot exceed 65 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. in residential neighborhoods. The law is difficult to enforce, Zwerling said, because it's based on a one-hour average.

There's also the matter of unintended consequences, said Regina Acosta Tobin, a member of ROAR. If the racetrack becomes popular and profitable, more races very well could be held there, she said. The plan is to hold six races per year, which will run until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Arshot has agreed to spend between $4- and $6-million on a 35-foot-tall sound wall to shield the area from noise.

Tobin, a real estate agent in German Village, questioned whether the wall would work because it has never been tested.

"There is no policing, so if they break the noise ordinance, who cares?" she said. "There's no enforcement."

Supporters hail the project, which also includes an automotive research and development center, for its economic and entertainment potential. It is expected to bring 300 jobs to the area, as well as hotels and restaurants.

Zwerling's critics, who were in the audience handing out literature, have cast him as an anti-noise activist intent on manipulating people with scare tactics.

Joe Sugar, general counsel for Arshot, said Zwerling's study did not take into account several important variables, including duration of each race, which is not expected to last one hour. Furthermore, Sugar argued, Arshot's sound assessment shows the facility complying with Columbus' noise statute.

"I would submit complying with the ordinance is a reasonable objective in light of the existing noise levels coming from the freeway that dominate the area," he said.

Arshot still must file a zoning application with the city of Columbus. Sugar said he expects that to be done in June or July.