PELL CITY – The City Council approved an amended noise ordinance Monday night that designates 9 p.m.-7 a.m. as “quiet hours” in the city, restricting loud and excessive noise.
The council unanimously approved the amended ordinance, which was originally adopted in 2003.
City Manager Brian Muenger said the changes were sparked after residents requested revisions to the noise ordinance. He said the changes make the ordinance more reasonable and enforceable.
“We tried not to go overboard,” he said, adding that the new ordinance closes some loopholes in the old one.
In fact, the new ordinance extends the distance of noise coming from vehicles.
“The same general format from the previous draft has been maintained, although some of the distances have been altered to provide for more reasonable scope of enforcement,” Muenger said. “For example, in the 2003 ordinance, noise from a motor vehicle that is plainly audible at 5 feet from another motor vehicle and 10 feet from a pedestrian is (was) prohibited. Those limits have been adjusted to 25 and 50 feet, respectively.”
From residential and commercial buildings, the distance from the source of noise is also different.
“… it shall be unlawful and constitute a nuisance for any person to make, create or maintain any unreasonable, loud, disturbing, or excessive noise that is plainly audible at a distance of 75 feet or more from the source of the sound if that noise is of such character, intensity, or duration that unreasonably interferes with the comfort, health, or repose of any individual within the corporate limits of the City of Pell City …”
According to the amended ordinance, performances by bands or orchestras are not restricted, as long as a permit for the performance is issued by the police department.
“Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to prohibit the conducting of live remote broadcasts by duly licensed radio stations upon business premises at the owner’s request,” the ordinance states. “Provided, however, said broadcasts shall not be allowed during the quiet hours set forth herein.”
There are other exclusions in the amended noise ordinance, such as the ringing of church bells or chimes.
The noise ordinance also does not apply to noises or sounds coming from radios, sirens and other equipment operated by police, fire, rescue or other emergency vehicles or personnel.
Noises or sound generated from official school events on school property are also excluded from the noise thresholds, as well as permitted events like LakeFest and the Downtown Block Party.
According to the amended ordinance, violations can carry up to a $500 fine and six months in jail or both.
Councilman Jay Jenkins said some people are more sensitive to noise than others, but he said people just need to use common sense and think about their neighbors.
“I think you can over-regulate,” he said. “I don’t think we can write an ordinance to take care of every problem.”
City officials said the amended ordinance is actually less stringent than the 2003 version.
In other matters, the council:
•Approved special events liquor licenses for this weekend’s LakeFest at Lakeside Park, and the Hometown Block Party, which is set for Saturday, June 1.
•Approved a resolution submitting the city’s Municipal Water Pollution Prevention Annual Report to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
•Declared a 2003 Kohler 150RZD generator as surplus, so it can be sold.
•Approved annexing property at 1435 and 1455 43rd St. North into the city with a residential agriculture zoning.
•Approved change order requests from Acker Electric in the amount of $11,307 for the civic center project.