AUGUSTA — City councilors have approved a new noise ordinance but removed a controversial provision that would have banned certain types of outdoor speakers.

In a split decision late Thursday night in which Mayor William Stokes cast the tie-breaking vote, councilors voted 5-4 to remove a proposed ban on the bullhorn-style speakers used by many car dealers to reach their sales staff on their often-vast car lots.

In a 7-1 vote, councilors approved the rest of the new noise ordinance proposed by the Planning Board. The rules come in response to residents’ complaints about noise from businesses intruding into their yards and homes.

“I think the Planning Board proposal was very well thought out, but I’m still not convinced the enemy is horn-type speakers,” Stokes said before casting the deciding vote.

The new noise rules limit sounds coming from most commercial properties in Augusta to a maximum of 60 decibels, measured at their property lines. That’s the equivalent of the noise generated by two people talking face to face.

The ordinance initially banned all outdoor speakers at all businesses other than drive through restaurants, but that ban was removed after several of the city’s car dealers said they relied on outdoor speakers to reach their sales staff promptly.





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