CLAYTON — firstname.lastname@example.org
The town is getting closer to deciding upon new noise ordinances that would regulate noisemaking, and would fine residents who exceed those noise limits.
The proposed amendment the town council considered at a meeting last week caused disagreement among the council members.
It would require measuring the average level of sound in an area, and then, when a noise complaint occurs, bringing a sound measuring device to the scene to see if the source of noise that warranted the complaint measures a certain number of decibels above the “ambient” sound, or normal sound level in that area.
“We found the matter of regulating noise was much more complicated than we thought,” said Town Manager Steve Biggs.
According to the proposed ordinance, there would be different levels of sound allowed at different times of day.
Sound from a specific source, such as from a concert, or employees at the golf course cutting the grass, would be regulated by the new limits.
Some council members argued that fining a source such as the golf course for making noise for lawn upkeep is excessive.
“I don’t think that should get a complaint,” said councilman Bob Satterfield
Biggs said that there is not a section in the new ordinance that allows certain activities during the quiet times.
The council is still working on the ordinance, and it has not been finalized.
The proposed fine for a noise violation is $50, said Biggs.
Councilman Michael Grannis said he thinks it should be higher.
Noise from an event such as a high school football game would be expected to be allowed by the new ordinance, according to Biggs.
There are different noise levels permitted for different types of zones, including residential and mixed use zones.
The school would be in a mixed use zone, and it is next to a highway, so the ambient sound for that zone would be higher than in a residential area.
In that case, an event like a football game would probably not exceed the maximum level of decibels permitted for a noise in that zone.
However, councilman Holder said he believed a crowd of cheering fans may be louder than the level that’s proposed.
The act of measuring the sound presents some logistical challenges.
The Clayton police, when responding to a noise complaint, would arrive at the place of the reported complaint and measure the level of sound from the source of the complaint, whether it’s a party, a concert, or any source of noise that’s not a part of the regular atmosphere for that area.
Then they’d see how that compares to the ambient sound for the area once the person turns off the source of the nuisance sound.
The responding police would be instructed to see how high above the ambient level the nuisance source of noise is.
Following some dispute among council members over which sources of noise should be considered exceptions to the ordinance, the council delayed approval of the ordinance.
The council members have been asked to bring back a list of exceptions to the ordinance that they think should be included in the amendment.