Residents were given the opportunity to provide input for county leaders Tuesday evening, regarding the recently-passed noise control ordinance.
Members of the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners voted to implement a noise control law during their September meeting. The action was taken after several local residents took the floor to express support for the ordinance.
Several residents of Salem Woods Subdivision spoke of problems created by youngsters riding motorcycles and ATVs unchecked through the neighborhood.
Individuals residing near local race tracks also addressed the board, indicating that having such an ordinance would allow them to know when they can sleep.
Area residents were issued an invitation to attend a meeting of the county’s Public Safety Committee that was held Tuesday. During that meeting several residents addressed committee members, both in support of and opposition to the ordinance.
While some individuals expressed their belief that more stringent enforcement of existing laws would result in the same outcome, several said that is not the case.
One pointed out that, as of 2004, the state has no law governing “disturbing the peace”. A resident explained to committee members, “When you ask them to turn it down and they basically tell you where you can go, you don’t have any legal recourse.”
One resident said that he had he learned that his only legal recourse was to pursue a cost-prohibitive civil suit. He said that the true issue is having to put up with “excessive amounts of noise for excessive amounts of time”.
He felt that he should not have to take his neighbor to court, “All because somebody doesn’t have the common sense not to run their motorcycle at midnight on high throttle.”
Others agreed that the problem arises from the extent to which the problem has escalated. He told members, “There is nowhere in my home where I can sit in peace and quiet.” He indicated that he is attempting to sell his house, but feels that it will be a difficult sale due to the level of noise.
One resident explained to the panel, “When you put up with this day in and day out, you get fed up with it…the noise ordinance is a blessing.”
Residents not only discussed excessive noise from motorcycles and at racetracks, but also loud stereos in and around homes and cars, and music emanating from other businesses, such as the local skating rink. One person pointed out that the issue is a “county-wide problem.”
A representative of U.S. Highway 43 Raceway addressed commissioners in opposition to the restrictions, saying that it should be considered as more of an economic issue.
He pointed out that the raceway employs between 15 and 20 individuals and that it draws tourist dollars into the county. Many of those attending, he said, require lodging and food, and shop locally while here.
A resident discussed the issue of motorcycles being ridden inside subdivisions, saying that it was no more noisy an activity than cutting the grass. He told members he had used a device to measure the noise in terms of decibels.
He said that the sound of a motorcycle from his yard measured 57 decibels while a push mower measured 62 and his daughter jumping on a pogo stick in the roadway measured 67 decibels.
Taking into consideration the opinions of those present, members of the committee will now work to formulate guidelines for the local law. One individual advised them, while doing so, to be specific in the language of the statute so that it is more concrete and not subject to interpretation.
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