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Town committee to rework noise ordinance Monday
Updated on: 06.07.12

The Nashville Town Council‘s Noise Committee will discuss a proposal for a new town noise ordinance Monday, June 11 at 4 p.m. at Town Hall.

The committee, comprised of town council and town police representatives and Nashville residents, has been meeting since January to rework Nashville’s current noise ordinance — which, except for the section about fines, has not been updated since 1993. Their aim is to make the law more enforceable.

On Tuesday, June 5, Town Attorney Jim Roberts presented a draft ordinance to the town council. But it contained several differences from the version the noise committee had drawn up.

Monday’s committee meeting will be a time to rework the two versions into a proposal to put before the town council, perhaps in time for the July 19 council meeting.

In the current noise ordinance -- listed under the "nuisances" section -- what’s considered an unreasonable or excessive noise is determined primarily by a decibel reading. However; town officers do not carry decibel meters, and they are not readily accessible to officers, meeting attendees discussed Tuesday night.

Under current ordinance, “excessive noise” also is defined as “audible vibrations intentionally created by the operator of a vehicle or a noise-creating device which, by its volume, repetition, location and/or time of day creates an annoyance to other persons, including law enforcement officers, within earshot and is unnecessary to the lawful use and enjoyment of the vehicle or noise creating device.”

The noise committee’s proposal defines “excessive noise” the same way as in the current ordinance. Separately, it defines  “unreasonable noise” as “sound that is of a volume, frequency or pattern that prevents, disrupts, injures or endangers the health, safety, welfare, prosperity, comfort or repose of reasonable persons within the Town of Nashville, given the time of day or environment in which the sound is made.”

The committee’s proposal does not include a method to measure whether or not a noise is unreasonable.

Roberts’ version makes a distinction among noise, music and “music nuisance,” and includes distances outside which a sound could be considered a nuisance.

In all three versions, exceptions are made for crowd noises resulting from legal activities; construction work with a permit; emergency signals; noises made by churches between certain hours; and other noises resulting from activities with a special permit.

Public comments about the proposed ordinance have centered primarily around vehicle noise and outdoor music. But committee members have stressed that the ordinance is meant to cover all forms of noise that residents or visitors might find unacceptable.

The county has no noise ordinance.

 

Read the current town noise ordinance by following this link: http://www.townofnashville.org/files/Title_IX_General_Regulations.pdf (Look under "nuisances.")

Read the committee's latest draft ordinance by clicking here.

Read the town attorney's draft ordinance by clicking here.

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