Thursday, December 22, 2005
City OKs new noise ordinance
By Sean Ingram
The Russellville City Council made it official this past Thursday night: Be vewy, vewy quiet, as Elmer Fudd used to say when he was hunting Bugs Bunny — or it could cost you.
Alderman Phil Carruth was the only council member to vote against the city’s new noise ordinance, sponsored by Alderman Robert Wiley.
The new law goes into effect Jan. 15.
Wiley noted after Alderman Ronnie Tripp mentioned a heavy trucks ordinance had not been enforced, “I want this to have some teeth and make sure it is enforced.”
Wiley previously said he had been told by residents something needed to be done about vehicles with exceptionally loud stereo systems or other mechanical devices.
The ordinance prohibits “the creating of any unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise of such character, intensity or duration as to be detrimental to the life, health, safety, welfare, comfort or convenience of any individual, or in disturbance of the public peace, health, safety and welfare.”
Persons who violate the ordinance can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and are subject to fines of no less than $250 or no more than $500, according to the ordinance. If such violations continue, each day’s violation will be considered a separate incident by the appropriate court.
The Russellville Police Department and Code Enforcement Office have the power to enforce the ordinance and can issue citations.
The city’s noise law declares the following acts as “loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises unlawful”:
- Horns or signal devices on any automobile, motorcycle, motor scooter, moped, bus, truck or other vehicle while not in motion, except as a danger signal or if in motion and trying to come to a stop; creating such signal device of any unreasonably loud or harsh sound; and sounding such devices for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time;
- Playing of any radio, stereo, TV, CD player, cassette player, DVD, VCR, phonograph, musical instrument, jukebox, amplification device, loudspeakers or other similar devices between 10 p.m. and 7 p.m. as to annoy or disturb the quietness, comfort or peace of persons in or around any office, hospital or in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence;
- Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on public streets, particularly between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. or at any time or place that would annoy or disturb anyone in any hospital, dwelling, hotel or any other type of residence, or of any person in the vicinity;
- Use of any automobile, motorcycle or vehicle so out of repair, so loaded or in such manner as to cause loud and unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling or other noise;
- To discharge exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, motor vehicle or motor boat engine except through a muffler or other device that will prevent loud or explosive noises;
- Creation of any excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school, institution of learning, church or court while they are in session, or adjacent to any hospital that unreasonably interferes with work; provided, however, that in case of emergencies when public health, safety or general welfare is in danger, necessary work may be done. Where underground repair or construction work is necessary adjacent in the vicinity of a school, church or court, work should be done at reasonable hours to be designated by the director of Public Works;
- Creation of loud and excessive noise in connection with unloading or loading any vehicle or opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers;
- Use of any drum, loudspeaker or other instrument or device to attract attention by creating noise to any performance, show or sale or display of merchandise;
- Use of mechanical loudspeakers or amplifiers on trucks or other moving or standing vehicles for advertising;
- At any hour , use, operation or playing of any radio, stereo system, compact disc player, cassette tape player or any other device capable of sound amplification on (A) any motor vehicle located in any public right of way, public street or public property, at such a volume as to be plainly audible from a distance of 30 or more feet from that motor vehicle; or (B) any private property at such volume as to be plainly audible from a distance of 30 or more feet or more from that property boundary line;
- Production of sound from erection, excavation, construction, demolition, alteration or repair work, or permitting or causing any building or other structure or permitting tools or equipment used in any such activity between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., that the sound creates a noise disturbance that is plainly audible and disruptive across a residential or commercial property line.
The ordinance does not apply to:
- Any vehicle of the city, county, state or federal government while engaged in emergency or hazardous public business;
excavations or repairs of bridges, streets or highways by the city, county or state when public welfare and convenience renders it impossible to perform such work during the day;
- Reasonable use of amplifiers or loudspeakers during non-commercial public addresses;
- Necessary warning signals from emergency vehicles; construction work between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. in areas declared by the city council to be disaster areas;
- Emergency assistance and warning calls;
Municipal and school athletic facility activities on publicly-owned property and facilities; providing such activities have been authorized;
- Emission of any sound to alert persons of emergencies, danger or attempted crime, including automobile security alarms and emergency warning systems provided such alarms and systems are maintained and reset within 15 minutes of activation. This exception also applies to routine testing.
- Religious worship activities conducted in a permanent structure, including bells and organs.
- Locomotives and other railroad equipment, and aircraft.
- Fireworks displays within hours and conditions as imposed by a permit or as allowed by the city;
- Sound emission to alert people of emergencies;
- Sound produced by construction or repair of building or other structures, or operating any tools or equipment used in such activities conducted between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- Any lawful activity which constitutes protected expression pursuant to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;
- Any sound generated from any public event sponsored or approved by the city, including parades, sporting events, activities in accredited public or private schools or other institutions of learning; community celebrations, fireworks displays or similar outdoor events, festivals or concerts and any activity held at the Pope County Fairgrounds.