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Bethlehem noise ordinance up for public review

The Bethlehem Town Board will be listening to residents come next Wednesday, Dec. 9, when a public hearing will be held on a proposed Noise Abatement and Containment Ordinance that would make it a punishable offense to be too noisy during certain hours.

The drafted law, which is available for review on the town's Web site, would prohibit "unreasonable noise" between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., seven days a week.

Unreasonable noise is defined as "any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, safety or welfare of a reasonable person of normal sensibilities," and is further defined as noise in excess of 75 decibels when measured from the property line of the offender, or from 20 feet away if the noise is occurring on a street.

Specifically mentioned in the law are motor vehicles (including the "spinning and squealing of tires" and revving of engines), power tools, construction noise, amplification devices (televisions, radios, musical instruments, etc.) and companion animals.

"No person shall allow a companion animal to engage in habitual barking, crying, or whining, and consistently disturb the comfort or repose of any person other than the owner of the companion animal," the proposed law reads.

Exempted, however, are government operations, firearms, aircraft, routine or emergency maintenance and construction, disaster recovery activity and manufacturing activities.

"Reasonable agricultural related noise" in an agricultural district or zone and activities in accordance with the New York State Right to Farm Law would also be exempt from the provisions of the law.

Violators, if convicted, would be subjected to a fine of $50 to $250 for the first offense; $100 to $250 and/or up to 10 days imprisonment for the second offense; and a fine of not less than $250 and/or up to 15 days imprisonment for the third offense and subsequent offenses.

A draft ordinance formed by a committee was the subject of a public hearing in late May of this year, and the response was overwhelmingly positive for the implementation of such a law, with the major concern being that it may be onerous in the more rural or agrarian parts of town.

The meeting will be held at Town Hall, 445 Delaware Ave., Delmar, at 6 p.m.

For more on this story, read the Dec. 9 edition of The Spotlight or check back to www.spotlightnews.com.

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