OAKLAND — The Town Council gave final approval Tuesday night to an ordinance that creates stiff penalties for residents who engage in what the council has defined as “unnecessary noise.”

After weeks of discussion, the ordinance passed by a vote of 4-1 with Councilor Mark Fisher dissenting.

Fisher made no comment Tuesday but said during discussion Dec. 10 that while he believes the issue of noise in Oakland should be addressed, he does not believe the town council has the constitutional authority to decide which activities are exempt.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said he has encountered no public opposition in the two weeks since the council approved publicly posting a draft of the ordinance.

The ordinance, which takes effect immediately, forbids any person to cause annoyance to others intentionally or recklessly by making “loud and unreasonable noises” after having been ordered by law enforcement to stop.

It gives Oakland police discretion to decide what constitutes a violation, setting fines at $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.

Earlier this month, the council gave preliminary approval to the ordinance after residents complained to the town that a logging operation on McGrath Pond Road was waking them as early as 3 a.m.

The ordinance bans a host of noise-generating activities between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and certain noises at all hours of the day.

The ordinance includes but is not limited to noise created by radios and other electronic equipment, the loading and unloading of commercial vehicles between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., timber harvesting between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and automobile noise at any time caused by spinning tires on dry pavement and modified exhaust systems.

As local towns and cities grapple with how to handle complaints about fireworks since their legalization in 2012, it also bans unnecessary noise caused by fireworks between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The ordinance creates several exemptions though, including governmental activities, utility agencies, domestic power equipment such as chain saws when operated during daylight hours, firearms, trains, plows and other snow-removing equipment, farming activities, solid waste collection and generators during power outages or weekly exercise periods not to exceed 30 minutes.

It also exempts noise created by truck engine brakes when used to slow down on sloped roadways, and it includes a special exemption for machinery being operated outside the normal permissible hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. during “mud season” in the spring, when ground conditions may not allow heavy equipment to operate during warmer daytime hours.

Evan Belanger — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @evanbelanger

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