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County to look into noice complaints

September 17, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - After hearing over the past two weeks from residents complaining about noisy neighbors, the Jefferson County Commission on Thursday agreed to consider a noise law to control the problems.

On Thursday, a woman who lives in the Orchard Hills subdivision off Mildred Street near Ranson, W.Va., complained about young people having parties near her house.

Helen Kemp said the parties sometimes last until 3 a.m. Kemp said she has called police in Charles Town and Ranson and they have told her that nothing can be done.

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Kemp said she has called West Virginia State Police and they have offered to go to the parties and ask those present to turn down their stereos.

Helen Kemp said she believes a lot of the activity can be attributed to drugs, alcohol and not teaching morals to young people.

"This is really a nuisance. It's unsafe. We don't know who these people are who are coming in," Kemp said.

Last week, a group of homeowners from the Glenn Meadows subdivision, off Flowing Springs Road near Shepherdstown, W.Va., complained to the commissioners about late-night partying in their neighborhood.

People at a house in the subdivision have parties as late as 3 a.m. and the noise from a recent party was "unbearable," said Glenn Meadows resident Tim Pownell.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said Thursday a state law allows counties to pass laws controlling anything a county considers a nuisance.

Corliss said he believes the county can control noise problems with such a law and the commissioners agreed to have Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brandy Sims look into the issue.

Although Commissioner Rusty Morgan voted to have Sims look into the noise law, he said he believes it could be difficult to control noise problems.

Commissioner James G. Knode expressed concerns, saying the commission has wrestled with similar issues before.

Earlier in the year, some county residents complained about barking dogs and the commissioners considered a law to control that problem.

The commissioners later backed off from the proposal. Knode said the commissioners wrestled with difficult elements of the proposed ordinance, such as what constitutes loud or repetitive barking.

At a public hearing on the barking dog ordinance, local residents said county officials were going to extremes by considering a law that would allow them to fine people up to $500 for allowing their dogs to bark.

One man asked the commissioners if they were going to have an ordinance against cows mooing.

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