Archive for Saturday, March 13, 2010

County to consider noise ordinance for rural areas

March 13, 2010


City rules regard ‘ordinary sensitivity’

In the city of Lawrence, it is illegal to make noise that “disturbs, injures, endangers the repose, health, peace or safety of other people or ordinary sensitivity” within the vicinity of the noise.

Among other things, the law applies to radios, televisions, musical instruments and parties.

Exempted from the ordinance are emergency workers, alarm systems, trash operations, aircraft, railroads, air conditioners, lawn care equipment, construction operations, church bells and any noise from a temporary event planned by a school, university, government or community group.

For some residents who choose to live in the country for the peace and quiet, rural Douglas County isn’t quite quiet enough.

Such concerns prompted Douglas County Commissioners to agree that it’s time to look at a noise ordinance.

In an e-mail that was shared with county commissioners, a resident who lives south of Lawrence complained of neighbors operating four-wheelers, trucks without mufflers and noisy cars “from night until morning.”

While the neighbors could ask the drivers to quiet down, they don’t have any legal recourse to make them stop.

“None of us are trying to prevent farmers from working the fields, construction workers from building houses or church bells from ringing — but we should not be experiencing sleep deprivation,” the e-mail read.

While noise ordinances are common inside city limits, they aren’t so typical in rural areas.

Over the years, County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he has received complaints from county residents about four-wheelers, wild parties, loud music, barking dogs and gunshots.

In the past year, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has received about 60 noise complaints, an average of five a month.

“That’s not a whole heck of a lot,” Sgt. Steve Lewis said.

When noise complaints do come into the sheriff’s office, Lewis said deputies try to locate the people making the noise and ask them to be quieter. Because there isn’t a specific ordinance, the sheriff’s office doesn’t have any enforcement power.

But most residents are cooperative, Lewis said.

In the next few weeks, Weinaug will work with Commissioner Jim Flory to draft a noise ordinance for consideration by the full commission.

Part of their work will include looking at what decibel levels the ordinance should be set at and what times of day it should be enforced.


illfareal785 8 years, 3 months ago

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headdoctor 8 years, 3 months ago

Is this noise a legitimate complaint or is it a case of you can take the city folks out of the city but can't take the city out of the folks? All to often the city folks move to the country and then expect to push their wishes and ideas on to people that may have lived in the country all their life. If you have moved into a small country subdivision or on a 5 acres hobby farm that is next to real farmers, suck it up and deal with it. They were there first.

RoeDapple 8 years, 3 months ago

Does this mean my neighbor will have to quit firing off his howitzer at midnight New Years Day? Or that I can shoot back?


headdoctor 8 years, 3 months ago

Pywacket (anonymous) says… head(needs)doctor(ed)~~ Can you read? The people complaining of the noise expressly stated that they have no issues with farmers, construction workers, etc. People should be able to live out in the country and not have to listen to the inane BS of partying yahoos and rednecks on ATVs all night. About time the county puts an ordinance in place so they will have some recourse when inconsiderate jerks disregard common courtesies. If people were not selfish pigs and didn't purposely trample the basic rights of others, there would be no need of laws.

I read just fine Pywacket. Which is why I started my post with, "Is this a legitimate complaint or". I suppose there would be less confusion or irritation if everyone who posted would write a short short story explaining their position. This issue is one of my pet peeves. I agree that a ridiculous amount of noise disrupting others is uncalled for no matter where you live. I am also quite familiar with city folks who move to the country and expect to push their ideas of country living on everyone else that has been there for years. I am also quite familiar with those same people who are willing to throw a fit and over embellish the story or complaint to get their way. Not much different than a temper tantrum. Those are the type of people that my post was covering not level headed neighbors who have a legitimate complaint.

LCURTIS 7 years, 10 months ago

Interestingly, it appears as though the topic of noise has been diverted into one of social and class conflict. The real issue is a lack of respect, whether you are in the city or county. I come from a rural and farming background, spent my summers on many farms but was primarily raised in the city. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I fully understand Head Docs perspective in some respects, because I too have noticed how city folks criticize and look down their noses on rural communities and their natives, but with respect to noise, I don't think it should be tolerated anywhere; it is more of a respect issue. I recently moved to a rural area where I was harassed by my neighbors with their motorcycles. I was awakened at 6 in the morning several times and finally went out and confronted them. Yes, I was raised in the city but have no problem defended myself against ignorant bullies who are trying to chase me out of my own home. IT AINT HAPPENING here or anywhere else; I don't care who was here longer; that is not the issue. Do they have a right to harass me, only because they were raised here? NO. And this is not about city girl coming around and trying to change things; it is stricly about me protecting my own rights as a human being, which includes standing up to those who consider me an outsider and think they can break laws and boundaries of respect because of their nativity. I have made it clear with them that I will file suit against them if they continue to harrass me, and have even placed cameras all over my property to ensure my privacy and PEACE to which I am entitled as a land owner. And I would do the same in the city, if my rights were violated.

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