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County wants to hear more on noise ordinance

December 10, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A county official on Thursday showed the Jefferson County Commission the equipment police might need if the county passes a law controlling excessive noise.

If county officials receive a complaint about noise, hand-held meters used to measure noise could be used to assess the level of the problem, Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brandy Sims said.

The cheapest meter costs about $886, Sims told the commissioners.

A police officer would measure the level of the noise and possibly issue a complaint if it is determined that the noise is excessive, Sims said.

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Then a hearing would be held, Sims said.

The commissioners agreed to consider a noise law after hearing complaints recently from people about noisy neighbors, particularly with regard to loud parties.

Also on Thursday, Sims reviewed noise laws in other cities. In Denver, anyone who violates the city's noise ordinance faces possible fine of at least $50 and possible jail time, Sims said.

In Washington, D.C., violators of a noise law face a possible fine of not more than $300 or not more than 10 days in jail, or both, Sims said.

The commissioners told Sims to continue working on a draft of a noise law for them.

Earlier in the year, the commissioners considered a new law to control barking dogs, although it later was abandoned.

At the time, people opposed to the proposed law said the county was going to extremes.

In addition to the complaints about the law, the commissioners were wrestling with difficult elements of the proposed ordinance, such as what constitutes loud or repetitive barking.

On Thursday, Commissioner James G. Knode said the more he hears about the proposed noise ordinance, the "less practical it seems to do this."

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