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Morgan County adopts noise ordinance

April 06, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. ? The Morgan County Commission on Friday adopted an ordinance to stop excessive residential noise when it becomes a public nuisance.

The ordinance, which goes into effect May 1, defines excessive noise levels in excess of 65 decibels occurring between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The ordinance covers radios, televisions, musical instruments, parties and social events, power tools and equipment, all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles, and domestic animals such as barking dogs.

First-time violators will be fined between $50 and $300, and second and subsequent violations will result in fines of not less than $150 or more than $500, according to the ordinance.

Exemptions from the ordinance include emergency alarm devices, authorized construction activities, farm equipment, farm animal husbandry and farm activities, the legal use of firearms including hunting and shooting activities, and fairs, festivals and carnivals.

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"If this ordinance doesn't take care of the issue, we will come back and address it," Commission President Glen R. Stotler said. "We can come back and modify and amend any ordinance we adopt."

There was discussion by the commissioners to move the starting time in which the ordinance would be in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 p.m., but Commission Thomas R. Swaim did not want it changed.

"I have come as far as I can," Swaim said. "We have to adopt something that's fair, and we have to live here as neighbors, and we have to get along. It's fair to farmers and dog owners. It's a good start."

"We finally have something here that we can work with," Stotler said. "I don't have a problem with leaving it as it stands. If we need to fix it later, we can."

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