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How much noise is too much noise?
According to the St. Paul, MN noise ordinance, too much noise ( "from a
radio, paging system etc") is when the equipment is played in such as
manner "as to unreasonably disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of any
person nearby." As to boom boxes or boom cars, " operation of any such
device at any time in a motor vehicle in such a manner as to be plainly
audible at a distance of 50 feet from the motor vehicle, shall be prima
facie evidence of a violation." I wonder how the courts there have
interpreted the "unreasonably" phrase in their ordinance. This does show,
though, that there are laws on the books and the public should start
pressuring for their enforcement.
It interested me that the Pasadena ordinance sets a limit of 40 decibels at
night. Here in Albuquerque it is 50 day or night. Here, too, they get
around it be allowing sound amplifying equipment to exceed the ambient
sound level by 10 decibels. There is a provision that between 10 PM and 7
AM that "such equipment will not be operated so as to be plainly audible
within any dwelling unit which is not the source of the sound" in an
apartment and it cannot exceed the 50 dB(A) or 10 dB(A) over the ambient
noise level at a property line of any residential property. For the
Pasadena writer, I would like to get in touch with you. My address is
SFNABQ@compuserve.com - cab we correspond?
It would be interesting and, for me, helpful to see the noise ordinances
for various communities to see if there are good ones that could be used
as models for other cities. I am hoping to get those of Seattle, WA Palo
Alto, CA and Boulder, CO for this purpose as I feel theirs might be
somewhat strict. Once a community has a good noise ordinance, there is
the problem mentioned of getting the local authorities to enforce the
ordinances and that is where we must become activists and good old
fashioned nags until the laws are being enforced
It would be great to be able to present the city council with a suggested
noise ordinance (one that would have a reasonable chance of being adopted)
based on existing law in other communities. I would be happy to send the
Albuquerque and St. Paul (and any others I get) codes to the quite list if
people are interested. Any body else have a copy of a good code or one
with good sections in it?
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