OAKLAND — An amended version of a proposed unnecessary-noise ordinance would allow police to ticket willful violators once an hour if they refuse to comply with orders to cease the public annoyance.

Presented by Town Manager Gary Bowman during Wednesday’s town council meeting, the new proposal comes after the council tabled Borden’s initial draft in order to gather more information on what decibel level should be defined as noise.

Bowman’s new proposal does away with defining certain decibel levels as noise, instead relying on a definition that would give police discretion to determine if something constitutes unnecessary noise.

“I think I’ve got something that’s workable,” Bowman told the council as he listed several amendments to the proposed ordinance.

Under the new proposal, it would be illegal for anyone to “cause annoyance to others by making loud and unreasonable noises” if the person has been ordered by a police officer to cease within the past six months.

In addition to giving officers more discretion, relying on a definition instead of a decibel level would eliminate the need for the police department to purchase a sound meter at an estimated price of $500.

The council took no action on the new proposal with Chairman Michael Perkins calling for it to be tabled again so all councilors could weigh in on the issue. Councilors Byron Wrigley Sr. and Don Borman were not present for the meeting.

As amended, the ordinance would apply to excessive noises emanating from public places such as streets and parks as well as private places such as homes or businesses as long as the noise from a private place is audible to someone in another private place or to someone in a public place.

If convicted, violators would be guilty of a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, $500 for a third offense and $1,000 for a fourth and all subsequent offenses.

To contend with willful violators, Bowman’s amended version allows officers to issue one ticket per hour if the noise continues in defiance of police orders.

“Eventually, these fines are going to jack up so high that they’re going to pay attention to it,” Bowman told the council.

Bowman said last month that the proposed ordinance comes after residents on McGrath Pond Road repeatedly complained to the town that a logging operation in the area was waking them as early as 3 a.m.

The proposed ordinance explicitly bans “unnecessary or unreasonable sounds created from timber harvesting activities” between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

It further bans unreasonable noise emanating from radios and other electronic devices, recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and four-wheelers and fireworks during the same time period.

The ordinance makes allowances for several exemptions though, including all governmental activities, utility work, bells from schools or churches, trains operating within the law, plows and other equipment related to snow removal, farming activities, solid-waste collection, stand-by electrical generators during power outages or during exercise periods not to exceed 30 minutes per week, engine braking systems on commercial trucks if used on sloped roadways, as well as public assemblies such as parades, live performances and athletic events. Other exemptions include idling trucks in the process of loading or unloading or while waiting to load or unload and domestic power equipment such as chainsaws, sanders, grinders and lawn and garden tools if used during “daytime hours.”

Perkins said the ordinance would be presented again during the council’s next meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 26 so Wrigley and Borman can comment before a first reading.

Evan Belanger — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @ebelanger


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.