Douglas County is rocking — and for some it’s a little too loud.
A few months after Douglas County commissioners put the county’s first noise ordinance on the books, some residents are asking for the law to be even stronger.
The main concern? Blaring music.
For Paul and Patricia Noreau, the problem is a neighbor who practices with his heavy metal band next door. From their house 500 yards away, they can hear music that is a mixture of guitar, drums, accordion and screaming.
“We just want peace and quiet when we are there in the evenings,” Patricia Noreau told county commissioners this week.
For Karen Jones, it’s her neighbors who mainly blast stereo music on the weekends starting early in the morning. While they seem to be partying, she wants to be outside doing yard work.
“When you buy property out in the country, you don’t expect this kind of infringement,” Jones said to the commission.
This spring, the commission adopted a noise ordinance from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The county defined a noise disturbance as a noise that “interferes seriously with the neighboring residents’ reasonable use and enjoyment of their properties.”
Exempted from the law were agricultural and industrial operations.
The ordinance was adopted after one resident sent an e-mail complaining about neighbors who were operating four-wheelers, trucks without mufflers and noisy cars from night until morning.
Since the ordinance has been in effect, Commissioner Jim Flory said he hasn’t heard any complaints about the heavy-handedness of the law. But he wasn’t ready to expand the ordinance just yet. He said more study was needed.
“When we first passed it, there was a reluctance on all of our parts to extend the arm of government into the neighborhood,” Flory said. “It just sometimes has to be done.”
Paul Noreau said he just wanted the commission to adopt an ordinance similar to those in neighboring communities.
“The reasons that they play out here is they couldn’t get away with it in the city limits of Lawrence or
City,” he said of the band next door.