Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ulrich Law to Crack Down on Noise

Legislation seeks to strengthen residential noise control

Noise complaints still hover at the top of the charts when it comes to 311 complaints. City
Councilman Eric Ulrich says residents in his district are continuously plagued by noise, which is causing a serious decline in their quality of life.

“These complaints continue to represent one of the main issues for residents throughout my district,” and according to the Councilman, law enforcement officials and courts need a stronger noise control ordinance, “so that inconsiderate neighbors, especially chronic offenders, are held accountable for their bad behavior.”

Statistics from July 1, 2009 through June 15th show that a total of 5,424 noise related complaints were filed through 311 by residents in Community Boards 9, 10 and 14.

The new law would close a loophole in existing legislation allowing action only against noise made by a device. Under Ulrich’s bill, enforcement officials will be able to act against all excessive noise, including that of a human voice.

Highlights of the Bill:
•Prohibits noise above 35 decibels between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and noise in excess of 42 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., as measured from the complainant’s property.
•Fines between $250 and $1,000 for the first offense. Officers have the option of issuing a warning for a first offense if the noise is below 50 decibels.
•A second violation within 72 hours, even if a warning was given the first time, results in fines of between $500 and $2,000. The person is then considered a willful violator, and the sound device can be impounded by police.
•Penalties ranging from $750 to $5,000 if three violations are received within two years for the same offense. Four violations within one year results in misdemeanor charges.
•If at any time the sound is found to be excess of 75 decibels, the individual is considered
a willful violator and the sound equipment can be confiscated, even on the first offense.

The bill only applies to residential homes and apartment buildings, and not to commercial
establishments, which are already covered under the existing noise control ordinance. It has been referred to the Committee on Environmental Protection for review.

No comments: