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Waynesboro, Pa., adopts a tough noise ordinance

August 18, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, PA.

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

A new law aimed at drivers of vehicles with window-rattling, booming stereos was passed Wednesday night by the Waynesboro Borough Council.

It takes effect immediately and carries some stiff fines and penalties for those convicted of violating it, council members said.

Borough Police Chief Ray Shultz said his officers will start to enforce the law right away.

According to Shultz, if an officer is 50 feet from the source of the vehicle's stereo and can hear it, he can pull the vehicle over and arrest the driver.

Conviction can mean fines of $100 or more plus court costs, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

Failure to pay the fine can net a defendant 10 days in jail.

"Yes, it will be enforced," said Councilman Dick George. More important, he said, Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz, who covers the Waynesboro area, has reviewed the ordinance and said it is enforceable.

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It was drafted by Hamberger and reviewed by Borough Solicitor Lloyd Reichard II.

"I think it will be enforced," Councilman Steve Monn said. "There are more officers on the street now to enforce it."

The new law covers amplified music from radios, CD players, televisions and musical instruments that "produce sound in such a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of residents "with louder volume than is necessary in the room, vehicle or chamber..."

There are exceptions. Noise from athletic events, concerts, block parties and licensed carnivals, school, public activities, church music and bells are exempt in the law.

Similar laws are on the books in other Pennsylvania cities and towns and are being enforced, Hamberger has said.

Next on the council's agenda, members said, is a law to ban loud vehicles, including cars with loud mufflers that roam the streets of the borough. Also targeted would be loud motorcyles and big rigs using engine brakes unnecessarily.

Hamberger said the council would have to acquire a certified decibel-measuring device to enforce such an ordinance.

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