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Noise law still a work in progress

June 21, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - How to control noise in Jefferson County continues to spark debate among county officials.

The Jefferson County Commission has agreed to start work on a noise control law after people complained about noisy neighbors, particularly in regards to loud parties.

The commission has drafted a law that would control noise at a level of 65 decibels, although parts of the proposal continue to generate debate among commission members and others.

About two weeks ago, Martinsburg, W.Va., audiologist Michael J. Zagarella told the commission the proposed law does not go far enough to control noise.

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Zagarella said most laws that have been passed to control noise set the decibel level at about 45 decibels.

A small orchestra produces a noise level of about 70 decibels.

Last Thursday, Commission President Rusty Morgan discussed possibly lowering the proposed law's decibel level to 55, although Commission member Jane Tabb objected to any lowering of the level, especially as low as 45.

Tabb pointed out that rainfall and a refrigerator generate a decibel level of 50.

Tabb said she was also concerned about neighbors using the law as a "weapon" against each other if the decibel level was lowered.

Tabb said she is concerned about people abusing the law if someone didn't like the noise coming from their neighbor's swimming pool or how neighbors yell at their kids.

The proposed noise law is being reviewed by the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's office and Tabb said Monday she is not sure when the commission will consider it again.

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