Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Council committee starts to draft a city noise ordinance

By Nini Edwards
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

A Midway City Council committee is discussing what a noise ordinance in the city would look like.

The Cemetery, Ordinance and Policy Committee talked Monday about possibly including restrictions on such things as machinery noise, loud music or barking dogs.

The three-member committee reviewed Versailles and Lexington’s ordinances as examples that could guide Midway’s decisions.

“I don’t think there are many things in the Lexington ordinance that will be amicable to Midway,” said Council Member Grayson Vandegrift. “The Versailles ordinance seems a little closer to us.”

For example, the Lexington ordinance prohibits noises that “disturb a person with normal sensibilities,” while the general part of the Versailles ordinance says “No person shall make, continue, or cause to be made or continued any loud, unnecessary, or unusual noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of others within the limits of the city.”

Vandegrift said, “I guess the reason behind this is to give police the discretion to reasonably discern” whether someone is violating the ordinance.

Vandegrift showed concern for certain Midway events if the noise limit starts at 10 p.m., and mentioned the possibility of imposing noise limits from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and requiring downtown events to end by 10 p.m.

“Sound can carry pretty far; you can hear a band over on West Higgins,” he said. “That might be something to think about.”

Council Member Sharon Turner said most of the city’s noise problems are from repeat violators, and wondered how the ordinance could address that. “It is not for the first-time offense, it is for the consistent day-in and day-out issues that we don’t have an ordinance to cover.”

Turner, the chair of the committee, is planning to bring the ordinance up again at the next committee meeting, at 9 a.m. on May 13. Turner said she is sending the Lexington and the Versailles ordinances as examples to the city attorney to prepare a draft ordinance for the committee to consider.

Turner said after the meeting that she would like the committee to think about the situation and come up with ideas to present after having a chance to think about the matter.

“Last meeting I had asked them to review the ordinances and come back with ideas and I didn’t hear anything, so sometimes I think it is easier when you see something that is yours,” she said.
The committee also discussed the possibility of a chapel at the Midway Cemetery where people could meet for services.

The chapel would provide a safer environment and would be more comfortable in certain weather conditions when holding a service, funeral director David Clark told the committee. He said that it would be safer and more convenient than graveside services.

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