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Noise task force expanded

The task force was commissioned in September 2007 to research a possible new noise law, hold public hearings and determine whether the public supported a noise law and if it is warranted or not.

Ultimately the task force decided a noise law was needed and recommended that the board pursue it. The next step is to actually draft a law to present to the board and to the public.

Hennessey said the board is required by law to hold a public hearing before any local law is voted on or adopted. Messina said he believes the added members will help to draft a complex law that will have different layers in terms of exemptions, decibel level and enforcement.

However, he added, the task force must move forward efficiently and effectively and not be bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.

"I believe that the majority of residents want to have this in place," Messina said. "We just have to make sure that it is fair and that it works."

The board doesn't have an official time frame put into place, although Kotary said he would like to see something that the board can review by next spring. Boucher told Spotlight Newspapers earlier in the year that drafting a law as complex as a noise ordinance could easily take eight months or more.

Currently, Bethlehem is one of the few municipalities in Albany County that does not have some type of noise law in place. Messina and the board reviewed several other town laws when considering one for Bethlehem, including neighboring Guilderland, which has a similar population and diversity of suburban hamlets together with low-density rural areas.

Both Boucher and Beebe said that additional manpower would not be necessary to enforce a new noise law and that only two decibel-reading devices would be needed for the town.

"It's time to move forward on this and start the drafting process," Messina said.""

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