Bethlehem residents asked the town, Can you hear me now? as they listened to plans for a townwide noise ordinance and overwhelmingly spoke in favor of its implementation.
In a Town Hall meeting Thursday, May 29, led by a task force of residents, town officials, and police and code-enforcement officers, dozens of people listened and gave feedback on the details of a possible town ordinance. Only two residents who attended the meeting said they were opposed to the town adopting a new noise law.
The Town Board created the task force Sept. 9 to complete an overview of the community's needs, to research the different aspects of a possible noise ordinance, and then, after public review, provide the Town Board with a proposed draft noise ordinance.
Councilman Sam Messina was the town board's liaison for the task, which also included community representatives Jennifer DeFranco and Robert Jasinski; Bethlehem Deputy Police Chief Tim Beebe; and town code enforcer, Gil Boucher.
Messina said that the town's supervisor and board members have received numerous noise complaints and suggestions to create a noise ordinance over the years, and he pointed out that Bethlehem was one of the last remaining communities in the county not to have an ordinance in place.
"Of the 20 most populous communities around us in the Capital Region, 18 have noise ordinances. Bethlehem and one other community does not," Messina said at the meeting. "That doesn't mean that a noise ordnance is right for us, but it's a fact to consider in terms of why did they think it was. It is certainly reasonable to assess that."
Beebe said that the task force looked at the Guilderland sound ordinance as a comprehensive model because it is relatively new. However, the task force stressed that Bethlehem would be creating its own noise law to fit its own needs.