Sep 2, 2005

Noise has been described as the most pervasive pollutant in America. And anyone who has been shaken from bed in the middle of the night knows.Tammy Scardino hears both sides of the issue as she revisits the controversy behind Pocatello's noise ordinance.They annoy some people, others like to show it off; maybe a bit too much.

One thing is for sure...Paul Hunt, Sound Source Installer: "Everybody loves music. Some people don't like it very loud and they're comfortable with what comes with the car, and other people want to upgrade; they want it loud; they want to feel it." Upgrading is exactly what Old Town resident, Robert Wallace, wants to re-define-

Robert Wallace, Old Town Neighborhood Association: "These are not personal stereos, these are personal public address systems, and they really need to be dealt with on that level. They trespass directly into the quiet and peace of our homes." While it may be perfectly legal to install a booming sound system, you could get fined for it.Who gets the final say? Right now, officers do, who enforce the noise ordinance. The city law came into affect in February of 2000 due to an abundance of complaints.

Sgt. Dan Woods, Pocatello Police Department: "We're not gonna go after people who are just playing their stereos normally, however, people who have the big boom boxes and are actually shaking your vehicle mirrors, windows; those are the ones we'd definitely go after and target." What is normal, there is no clear definition. The law reads that officers will use their judgment. Violations are a misdemeanor and carry a maximum $300 dollar fine and up to 6 months in jail. For Sound Source installer, Paul Hunt, whose company puts in over 50 stereo systems a week, he thinks people should have the right to do so.

Paul Hunt: "Everybody should have their music and be able to play it loud as they want, but then when it comes down to it it's just respect."Respect is all that Wallace is asking for.In Blackfoot, a similar ordinance deems excessive noise as sounds that can be heard from 50 feet of the source.In Idaho Falls noise pollution falls under the disturbing the peace code.

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American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has information about noise, and the decibels that can harm hearing. Pocatello: Pocatello City Code 9.16.070 EXCESSIVE NOISE PROHIBITED: Noise, which due to its volume, its duration, or its location disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of persons not voluntary listeners thereto is hereby declared to be excessive and inimical to the welfare of the citizens of the Municipality.

It is unlawful for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made, or allow to be made on any premises or any public place or public right of way from any radio, CD player, tape player, musical instrument, phonograph, or sound amplifier or similar device, any excessive, loud, unnecessary or unusual noise. Specifically prohibited is the playing, using, operating, or permitting to be played, used or operated, any device for playing, producing, or reproducing sound at a louder volume than is necessary for the hearing of persons who are voluntary listeners on the premises, or in the building, room, or chamber in which the sound is being played, produced, or reproduced. Provided, however, that persons engaged in school-related or sports-related promotional activities and lawful parades shall be exempt from the provisions of this Section for the duration of the activity. (Ord. 2646 § 1, 1999: Ord. 2431, 1993) and 9.16.080 EXCESSIVE NOISE FROM VEHICLE SPEAKERS AND RADIOS, PHONOGRAPHS, TAPE PLAYERS, CD PLAYERS, OR SOUND TRUCKS AND SIMILAR DEVICES PROHIBITED: It is unlawful to use or operate any vehicle commonly known as a "sound truck" or other vehicle on or in which is mounted a loudspeaker and/or sound amplifier which emits amplified sound broadcast to the public at large. It is unlawful to use, operate, or permit to be used, played, or operated, radios, CD players, tape players, phonographs, vehicle stereo systems, and similar devices mounted in or on a vehicle loudly enough to disturb the peace, quiet or comfort of persons who are involuntarily subjected to the sound who are on or in premises other than the vehicle. Sounds louder than necessary for the hearing of persons in the vehicle are hereby deemed excessive. Provided, however, that emergency vehicles and persons engaged in school-related or sports-related promotional activities and lawful parades shall be exempt from the provisions of this Section for the duration of the activity. (Ord. 2646 § 2, 1999: Ord. 2431, 1993)

Neighborhood Associations can be helpful if you have a noise problem in your neighborhood. Click on your neighborhood, and it will take you to a page with contact information. This page includes these neighborhoods: Lewis & Clark, Alameda, Bonneville, Whittier, Old Town, and College. Blackfoot: Blackfoot City Code 6-01-19: NOISES CREATING PUBLIC DISTURBANCE: A. PROHIBITED ACTS: It is unlawful for any person to cause, or for any person in possession of property to allow to originate from the property, sound that is a public disturbance noise. The following sounds are determined to be public disturbance noises: 1. Motor Vehicle Sound Systems: Sound from motor vehicle sound systems, such as tape players, radios, and compact disc players, operated at a volume so as to be audible greater than fifty feet (50’) from the vehicle itself; 2. Audio Equipment: Sound from audio equipment, such as tape players, radios, or compact disc players, operated at a volume so as to be audible greater than fifty feet (50’) from the source, and if not operated upon the property of the operator. Idaho Falls: Idaho Falls uses both the State and City Codes. Idaho State Code:18-6409. DISTURBING THE PEACE. Every person who maliciously and willfully disturbs the peace or quiet of any neighborhood, family or person, by loud or unusual noise, or by tumultuous or offensive conduct, or by threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight or fighting, or fires any gun or pistol, or uses any vulgar, profane or indecent language within the presence or hearing of children, in a loud and boisterous manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Idaho Falls City Code: 5-23-5: DISTURBING THE PEACE:

Any person who willfully, maliciously, or intentionally disturbs the peace and quiet of another or of any neighborhood or family or religious congregation or other assembly by loud or unusual noises, or indecent behavior or by patently offensive or immoral conduct or who uses or utters any obscene, vulgar or indecent language in the presence of another, or who threatens, fights or provokes an assault or battery is guilty of a misdemeanor.