Town gets earful on noise law

Charmaine Wijeyesinghe asked the board why off road vehicles like dirt bikes and ATVs aren't specifically mentioned in the proposed law. Cunningham said that such vehicles fall under the purview of vehicle and traffic law.

"I don't think we're going to be able to include vehicles under noise ordinance, period.

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.

There are various exceptions provided by the drafted law, including agricultural activities, government operations, firearms, aircraft, routine or emergency maintenance and construction, disaster recovery activity and manufacturing activities.

In addition, the Zoning Board of Appeals could grant a variance under the proposed law.

Other residents questioned what effect the law would have on the more rural areas of town, including farmer Chuck Preska, who also sat on the committee that drafted the town's recently adopted Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. He wondered whether lands not zoned for agriculture would still be exempt.

"We identified a significant amount of agricultural land that is outside of agricultural districts," he said, referencing the protection plan.

Cunningham said that any agricultural use would be exempted, and stressed several times over the course of the meeting that the ordinance is not meant to be disruptive to the lives of residents. He added that it is within the board's power to make changes anytime.

"This is not written in stone and unchangeable," he said. "We can repeal it if it's something that's not working for the community."

The board decided to leave the public hearing on the law open until the next board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 23, when the public will have the opportunity to weigh in again on the revised law and a vote may be taken.

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