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Sheriff recommends against loitering ordinance for Funkstown

Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore also suggests town seek state advice on noise

August 11, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore said he’s recommending Funkstown’s Town Council not pursue a loitering ordinance, and seek advice from a state agency about addressing noise complaints in town.

Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr. withdrew proposed noise and loitering ordinances from the council’s July agenda at the request of Mullendore, who had concerns about the ability to enforce both proposed laws. The sheriff’s office is the enforcement agency for the town.

The mayor and town council will discuss the town’s proposed noise and loitering ordinances at its at 7 p.m. meeting Monday, Aug. 12, at Town Hall, Town Clerk/Treasurer Brenda Haynes said.

Haynes has said the two proposals were prompted by complaints about noise and loitering outside Joker’s Bar & Grill.

Mullendore said he forwarded the proposals to Washington County State’s Attorney Charles Strong for review, but he hadn’t heard back as of Thursday morning.

Based on his own research, Mullendore said he’s recommending Funkstown officials contact the Maryland Department of the Environment for advice.

A statewide noise-prevention measure that passed in the mid- to late 1970s dictates how and what can be enforced concerning noise, Mullendore said. The state environment department is the enforcement arm for that measure, he said.

Enforcement of the measure involves using a decibel meter to measure sound, Mullendore said. The meters would need to be purchased and calibrated, he said.

Mullendore said the use of the decibel meters isn’t practical.

But if Funkstown officials want to have a legal measure to address noise complaints, they could contact the state agency about the state measure or for advice about crafting the town’s noise ordinance, Mullendore said.

The town’s proposed noise ordinance, as crafted, would not work, Mullendore said.

As for the loitering proposal, Mullendore said he wasn’t familiar with any loitering ordinances that have held up in court.

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