Aug 12, 2010 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
When someone comes to Elbridge town councilor Rita Dygert with a noise complaint, she might as well be left speechless. Without a noise ordinance, there’s nothing the town can do.
This helped motivate Dygert to draft the “Town of Elbridge Noise Law,” which was aired out in an Aug. 4 public hearing at town hall.
Why do we need a noise law? Do we really need a noise law?
“I think all would agree that the quiet enjoyment of our home and property is a very important quality of life issue,” Dygert said. “After all, if we can’t get peace and quiet at home, where are we going to get it?”
Dygert mentioned exceptions to the noise ordinance, including lawnmower and snowblower activity, construction, public assemblies, emergency work or operations, and “all agricultural activities regardless of the hour of the day.”
Dygert made clear that noise would only come under scrutiny if it were offensive to a neighbor.
Dawn Bersani of Grimes Road was one of the first residents to speak in favor of the proposal.
“I’ve always been in favor of this,” she said. ” Because of the music emanating from a vehicle most every night till whenever hours of the evening, to the point where I can’t even have my windows closed. I can still hear the bass through my glass.”
According to Bersani, her neighbors once said to police that because there was no noise ordinance, they could do whatever they wanted.
“Without anything in place, I have no recourse,” Bersani said. “I have to literally put up with it.”
Some people at the meeting questioned Bersani’s approach to dealing with the noise.
“Did you actually talk to the neighbors and ask them to turn it down?” asked Dana Anthonson.
“I’ve never talked to the neighbors,” Bersani responded.
“That would’ve been my first course of action,” Anthonson said.
Rich Moorehead of Halfway Road said he could sympathize with Bersani and told a story of one neighbor who had a Harley Davidson with straight pipes.
“He could rattle the windows in my house,” Moorehead said. “I approached him and told him that I had little kids, and it scared the hell out of them every time he left his house. I just asked him to soft pedal it until he reached Route 5 — which he did. So I worked with him.
“But I also bought a place in the country with a few acres of land because I have chainsaws, I have tractors, I have dirtbikes,and I do enjoy loud music once in a while. It’s my right, also, as a landowner, to use my property the way I want to.”
Dan Conroy of Sandbank Road asked if noise from a Harley Davidson motorcycle could ever be enforced, which led Dygert to note the law’s leniency toward impulsive sound as opposed to continuous sound.
Town attorney Dirk Oudemool then pointed out that any noise produced by an engine would be exempt from the noise law, since motor vehicles are state regulated.
Oudemool has seen a noise ordinance up close from working as an attorney for the town of Camillus.
Conroy was curious about how the ordinance would be enforced. For instance, should the town codes enforcement officer be expected to be on the spot when someone reports a neighbor using a chainsaw late into the night?
Oudemool suggested the board not put a specific enforcement policy in writing at the risk of taking away from the codes officer’s authority.
Dygert spoke with the Camillus town codes office and found that since the implementation of a noise law in Camillus, the number of complaints received have been reduced to one or two a year.
She added that their law has not placed an undue burden on the Camillus police department.
Supervisor Ken Bush addressed the room after all comments had been made.
“No action is planned to be taken in regard to this proposed noise ordinance this evening,” Bush said. “Your concern, your support, your questions will be considered before any formal action is taken.”
It takes a village
Bush addressed talks around the town that the village of Jordan should disband. He outlined some financial ramifications that would result from the removal of the village.
For one, he pointed out, new water, sewer, lighting, drainage, and trash districts would need to be formed.
“All those districts that I mentioned, there would be a cost directly borne by the people in those districts to form the districts, let alone to pay for the operating expenses that go along with it,” he said.
The board approved an amendment of rental rates for use of the JE Community Center.
The board approved Ken Kaufman to commence work on the Hartlot water project.
The board authorized the town of Elbridge and villages of Elbride and Jordan to enter an intermunicipal agreement regarding the dispursement of New York State grant money. The municipalities will share the grant money, which was made available to put toward the Hartlot water project.
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