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story and purpose
Message text written by INTERNET:email@example.com
>Is there legal support available or a technological
means to cut down on the noise I experience with this machine? Any
suggestions are welcome.<
Your first recourse to investigate your local noise ordinances as they vary
greatly from one city to another. Call the City Clerk's office and have
them send you a copy of the local noise code (you may be alble to download
it on your computer.) After reading it, talk with the Environmental Health
Office (or whoever the City Clerk tells you is responsible for enforcing
the noise code.) They will investigate and possibly find a violation.
Some ordinances put sound level restrictions in place. Here in
Albuquerque, the noise from that unit could not exceed 50 dB(A) or 10
dB(A) above the ambient noise level measured from the nearest residential
property line. In Palo Alto, CA. it could only be 8 dB(A) above the
ambient at that establishment's property line. Some cities have more
vaguely worded codes such as St. Paul, MN where they prohibit noises that
will "unreasonably disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of any person
nearby," or Seattle which might consider that noisy cooler an
"unreasonable noise which disturbs another".
Many noise codes place stricter limits on noise during nightime hours. The
EPA claims that in a noise level above 40 dB(A), sleep is difficult.
Moderate rainfall (which might wake you up if you're a light sleeper) is 50
dB(A) and normal conversation is 60 dB(A). The local inspector for the
noise code could take sound readings for you to determine how they apply to
the local noise code. Depending on how cooperative that official is, you
might get some relief even if there is no violation as they can relay the
complaint and ask for cooperation even if a violation does not exist. That
worked for me with a noisy Mall where they turned the music down even
though the local code had no real jurisdiction over their private property.
STEPHEN O. FRAZIER
Writing at 9:42:05 AM on 12/12/97
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