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Published Tue, Nov 20, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Tue, Nov 27, 2012 07:39 PM

Town to tweak ordinances following noise complaints

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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- The town council is planning to tweak its noise ordinance, a move it hopes will partially solve the problem of noise complaints in town, without spending a huge amount of money.

There is no noise too loud in Clayton. The town council began to debate setting noise ordinances by decibels in October, but there was dispute over the cost of addressing what some council members believe is not a big problem.

“Do I think it’s a good use of time, effort, and money? I do not,” Councilman Bob Satterfield said

Mayor Jody McLeod said noise complaints would be better left for neighborhood homeowner’s associations to handle.

Now, the council has decided to try to appease both sides – those who believe noise complaints are a real problem, and those who believe it’s not a good use of resources.

“I think you’re running away from an issue rather than addressing it,” Councilman Art Holder said.

When the council began to debate a noise ordinance in October, it did not have the police records of the number of citations handed out for noise violations each year to use to gauge the size of the problem. Now the council has that data.

“We’ve had 236 calls, two citations. To me, I think we’re doing diligence here,” said council member Michael Grannis, who does not think that a lot of money should be poured into creating a new noise ordinance.

“The underlying factor is the number of residents to the number of calls,” Grannis said.

He believes that making the noise ordinance more objective will make police officers’ jobs a little easier, so they have a way to tell whether a noise complaint is valid and deserves a citation.

The tweaked ordinances will distinguish between “specific” and “ambient” sources of sound. Specific sources of sound could be a stereo, or a concert. Ambient sources of sound are more consistent, such as the sound made by the Clayton Center’s air conditioning unit or the sound of traffic at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Main Street, where there have been noise complaints.

The council is still discussing which specific changes need to be made and when they will be enforced.

James: 919-553-7234

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