According to Town Attorney Michael Magguilli, Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider, in conversations with the Albany County District Attorney's Office, learned that if the town were not to have a set decibel limit in place for daytime hours, the DA's Office could then prosecute individuals who are making excessive noise with disorderly conduct charges.
Magguili said Heider informed the town attorney's office that if they had set a decibel limit, this prosecution would not be possible. The possible penalty for being charged with disorderly conduct is a fine up to $250 and/or up to 15 days in jail, at the judge's discretion. It is considered a violation.
Colonie police could enforce these violations, but only if two individuals made the complaint. The complainant and the responding police officer could serve as the two individuals in those cases.
Mahan acknowledged the public's concerns, but said, "I'd rather see [a] 65 [decibel limit] amended noise law pass, than no resolution pass."
The first part of the public hearing was held on Thursday, June 11, but was to be continued in July so that town officials could take the concerns of residents who spoke out at the hearing into account.
Town Councilman Bob Becker, who has been working with the town attorney's office on the new ordinance regulations, said the concerns of the residents have been heard and were made a part of the new regulations. Becker said he was opposed to the change from 60 to 65 decibels, but voted in favor of the resolution. Before voting in approval, he listed other area municipalities with more stringent noise ordinances. Niskayuna has a maximum decibel level of 60 and a curfew of 9 p.m.; Clifton Park and Guilderland have a 50 decibel maximum and a curfew of 10 p.m., he said.
The law provides for a review to be done after six months to gauge the effectiveness of the new ordinance, according to Magguilli, but the board could not specify what sort of report would be generated or how it would be disseminated, as the report, to be completed in January 2010, may be handled by a different administration.
A few residents, however, said regardless of the format of the report, it would be reactive in nature. Data would only be collected after complaints were made to police, they noted.
- Ariana Cohn contributed to the story""