Hearing specialist says noise ordinance needs more teeth

June 10, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday decided against taking action on a proposed law to control excessive noise after a local audiologist said the law does not go far enough to control noise.

In their proposed noise law, the commissioners are seeking to control noise that would be the equivalent of 65 decibels or louder.

A small orchestra produces a noise level of about 70 decibels, said Martinsburg audiologist Michael J. Zagarella, who spoke during a public hearing on the law.


Zagarella said he has examined many noise ordinances used in other areas and most of them limit noise to 45 decibels.

Zagarella said the proposal to limit noise to 65 decibels is "so far in excess" of what he has seen in other ordinances.

Commissioner Greg Corliss supported lowering the maximum allowable noise level in the law, while Commissioner Jane Tabb did not.

Commissioner Dale Manuel said he wanted to study the issue further before taking action.

The commissioners agreed to consider the law again next week.

The commissioners agreed to consider a noise law after hearing complaints recently from people about noisy neighbors, particularly in regards to loud parties they were having.

The law seeks to control noise from sources such as radios, television sets, musical instruments, phonographs and compact disc players.

The law says it will be unlawful to operate such devices in a way where they would be heard at 65 decibels or louder "through the walls of apartment units within the range of the same building" between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

It will also be unlawful to generate noise at 65 decibels or higher during that time period from another property line or from the street, according to the proposal.

It would also be against the law to have a party or other event that produces noise at 65 decibels or louder from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

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