Plans for a new music school in the former Woodstock Jewish Congregation building on Rt. 212 will move forward after the Planning Board approved a special use permit on May 21. Approval came after the owners agreed to concessions to address neighbors’ concerns about noise.
The proposal, named Paul Green Rock Academy, calls for five classrooms and one recital hall that can hold up to 260 people, according to owner Green, who anticipates the school will open by July 1. Green plans to teach children ages eight through 18 to play rock music, primarily focused on classic rock from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
“We are going to have all sorts of rock concerts from Abba to Zappa, and AC-DC to Zeppelin,” Green said. “We’ll have music from the local area from The Band, to Bob Dylan, and all the local stars. We want to hire local musicians as instructors.”
Green has spent years in the music industry working on festivals and teaching music. He was the inspiration for the Jack Black role in the 2003 film School of Rock.
The board agreed to approve the project if Green agreed to an annual cap of 24 recitals and agreed to keep the noise level at 60 decibels at the property line. He also agreed to limit recitals to Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday matinees and to have all recitals end by 10 p.m.
“We have to be a good neighbor and work with them,” Green said. “I’ve made a career out of being a good neighbor.”
Project engineer Rich Praetorious believes these changes will meet the concerns of neighbors. “We’re going to use insulation in the walls for soundproofing,” he said. “I think we addressed their concerns as best as practicable.”
The board was satisfied with Green’s proposal after he agreed to the limit on recitals and noise, chairman Howard Post said.
“It conforms with the zoning,” Post said. “Our job is to make sure this type of use is an allowed use with a special permit.”
“We listen to neighbors’ concerns and use it for our consideration,” Post said. “Neighbors have to be able to come out and voice their concerns. That’s why we have a public comment period.”
Planning Board member Paul Andreassen was also satisfied with the proposal. “I think they are putting in sound-resistant measures that should satisfy the concerns of the neighbors,” Andreassen said. “We should welcome it to the town.”
Fears about noise brought out neighbors who expressed their concerns to the board.
Robbie Dupree, a musician himself, lives on Pine Lane near the project.
He expressed his concerns about noise, particularly low-frequency bass, coming from the lessons and recitals. He wants to make sure the quiet atmosphere of the neighborhood is preserved.
Overall Dupree was satisfied with the board’s and Green’s reaction to his concerns.
“I’m not opposed to the project,” Dupree said. “I want to ensure the proper mitigation and soundproofing efforts take place.”
Theofanis Dinos holds more reservations about the project. He is especially worried about loud noise from the night recitals. “I have to put my kids to bed at 8 p.m.,” he said.
He is also worried about having to hear the music from the school when he’s not in the mood. “If you want to listen to music you go into your room to listen to music,” Dinos said. “If you want to go to bed you go into your room to go to bed.”
“I don’t want a problem to start,” Dinos added.
For more on the school, visit rockacademy.com.