|"The [noise] ordinance allows police to measure the sound at the point of complaint, rather than at the point of origin."|
"The [noise] ordinance allows police to measure the sound at the point of complaint, rather than at the point of origin."
City council approves revised noise ordinance
By Whitney Hodgin
The Daily News
GALVESTON — The city council has approved changes in the noise ordinance that limit sound produced to 85 decibels and provide police with measurable methods of enforcing that law.
The vote was 4-2.
Mayor Lewis Rosen, District 1 Councilwoman Cornelia Harris-Banks, District 2 Councilman Rusty Legg and District 6 Councilwoman Marie Robb voted for the amendments.
District 3 Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton and District 5 Councilwoman Terrilyn Tarlton voted against them, saying they did not know how loud the decibel limits actually were.
Councilman Norman Pappous was absent.
The 85 decibel limit applies to both residential and nonresidential areas from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. The limit is lowered to 80 decibels in residential areas after 10 p.m.
Neither members of the planning commission, which recommended that the council pass the amendments, nor most council members were confident they knew what a noise sounded like at 85 decibels.
“We asked staff to provide you with someone to demonstrate the different sound levels because we thought it was important to hear the sounds,” Dominic Sasser, a planning commissioner, said. “Personally, I think we should have done this ourselves, but we wanted to get it to council for a vote.”
The ordinance allows police to measure the sound at the point of complaint, rather than at the point of origin.
Council members said the original intent of the amendments was to prevent unwelcome noise from invading others’ property. The amendments also were designed to prevent someone from abusing the complaint system.
Police officers at the meeting approved of the latest draft of the ordinance because it allowed them to use personal discretion on a case-by-case basis and also equipped them with decibel readers.
The ordinance bans the use of a loudspeaker without obtaining a $25 special event permit from the city manager’s office at least 10 days in advance of the planned use, according to the ordinance.
A loudspeaker is defined as a “sound amplification device or a speaker or mechanism from which amplified sound emanates or which reproduces or amplifies sound,” according to the ordinance.
The revised ordinance includes an appeals process for people who are denied a special-use permit by the police department. The appeals process will become effective Nov. 1.
People who operate properly zoned and permitted commercial business, industrial enterprise or governmental facilities as a part of their normal day-to-day operations are not required to obtain special events permits.
Some business owners advised the council against approving a lower decibel limit or a limit that depended on several factors that could be confused.
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You can read the full article here.
Note: boldface ours.
Source: The Daily News, Galveston County