Posted on Tue, Nov. 08, 2005

Summit council listens again to noise law

Proposed county ordinance would make violations misdemeanors

By Sandra M. Klepach
Beacon Journal staff writer

Summit County has moved one step closer to keeping the noise down in the county.

A law that would make noise nuisances a minor misdemeanor got its second reading Monday before the County Council.

The proposal would allow officers to cite violators for noise that is audible more than 80 feet beyond the property from which it is emanating -- or more than 100 feet from a vehicle on a roadway -- with or without using a sound level meter.

Vehicle speakers could emit sound no louder than 15 decibels above the area's regular noise level.

Further violations would be fourth-degree misdemeanors and could result in confiscation of equipment or fines up to $250.

County legislators have taken their time on the law, learning its implications from the Summit County Police Chiefs Association and other municipalities, said County Councilman Paul Gallagher, D-Cuyahoga Falls.

The idea developed about six months ago when residents complained of loud boom boxes and stereos in the townships, Gallagher said.

In general, noise ordinances ``are problematic. Disturbances are neighborhood disputes, usually,'' Gallagher said. ``But if you don't even have an ordinance, the dispute will be impossible to solve.''

Maximum decibel level recommendations are 65 in residential and 67 in nonresidential areas from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and until 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Evening noise should stay below 55 and 62 decibels respectively, with exemptions for emergency vehicles, permitted construction and scheduled public events.

Habitually loud animals are already prohibited in the county.

The council is expected to take its final reading of the ordinance Nov. 21.

Sandra M. Klepach can be reached at 330-996-3746 or