Proposed Noise Ordinance Draws Concern from Farmington Glen Members

Introduced Monday, the new ordinance makes exceptions that include sounds coming from organized events, like the club's swim meets.

Farmington officials approved the introduction of an update to the city's noise ordinance Monday that aims at the fine line between public fun and public nuisance. 

The ordinance drew some concern from members of , because of prohibitions on loudspeakers and amplifiers. During public comment, member Gail Lederer acknowledged concerns about the club not being able to use its public address system, which is standard during swim meets. 

Lederer said the club recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and "we would just like to keep this tradition going at the Glen for another 50 years." 

Director Bob Schulz said his department has gotten a few complaints about the club this year, all related to swim meets. He said his department generally receives one or two calls every year. 

City manager Vince Pastue said the planning commission in considering the ordinance made a specific exemption for organized sports events. He said without it, games played at could be in violation.

The city has been working with the swim club to direct sound equipment more toward Farmington Road, rather than into surrounding neighborhoods, he said. 

The proposed ordinance, Pastue added, "represents an update that takes into account some of the best practices with other ordinances in other cities." The changes establish different standards for different areas of the community, which are lacking in the existing ordinance.

Council member JoAnne McShane asked how property owners hosting an outdoor event will know what decibel level is allowed for their activity. 

"That would be the responsibility of the owner," Pastue replied, adding that Farmington Public Safety has equipment to measure sound levels. 

Schulz said his department typically takes the approach of educating people when a new ordinance goes into effect, then turns to enforcement if complaints continue. 

Among the other prohibitions proposed:

  • "Yelling, shouting, whistling, hooting or generally creating a racket" between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., except during a time of emergency
  • Animals or birds causing excessive noise
  • Hawking "goods, merchandise or newspapers in a loud and boisterous manner"

The ordinance (the full text is posted with this article) will come back for approval on Aug. 20. In the meantime, residents can submit their comments to Pastue's office or to any city council member. There is an online comment form on the city's website, along with a directory that includes email addresses and phone numbers for city staff and council members. 

Karen Fink July 17, 2012 at 08:10 PM
All I can say is, " Really?? REALLY??!"
Catherine Beerbower July 19, 2012 at 03:42 AM
We have only 3-4 meets a year. They are over by 9pm. It is very frustrating when there are about 600 people, having good clean family oriented fun and a few fusspots have to shut it down. Didn't they know they were buying a home near the swim club? Seriously??
Michael A Lockman July 20, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Fusspots are we? You know the opening scene in the movie Mash? The one that shows the helicopters flying over the landing field past the telephone pole with the loudspeaker on it? The one from which the camp clerk Radar makes all the announcements? I, and dozens of other fusspots have three of them in our backyards. Didn't we know we were moving near a swim club? What a cool question. I guess you have me there. Except that what any of us knew or did not know is beside the point because we, just like you and the swim club, are as a matter of law on notice of all the laws that apply to us wherever we choose to live. And we, just like you, have the right to expect that wherever we chose to live, the laws that are in effect when we move there will be enforced as written. The current ordinance has been in effect for many years and restricts the use of such speakers to specifically designated times. For just as many years, the swim club has chosen to schedule events in which it determines speakers are to be used outside the hours in which they are permitted and used them in violation of the existing ordinance. I can live with 600 people, most of them non-residents of the City, having good clean fun. But let them have it without disturbing the peaceful enjoyment of the property of hundreds of others residents who have had to put up with the after hours assault on their senses that the amplified devices produce. The speakers go well past 10pm most of the time.
Michael A Lockman July 20, 2012 at 01:57 PM
If you took a bit more time to study the information in the article rather than react emotionally you would soon discover that you have completely missed the point. The objections are not to the "horrible sounds of kids swimming on a summer day". The objections are aimed at the annoying noise emanating from loudspeakers mounted on 3 very tall poles through which an announcer [presumably not a child engaged in the act of swimming] describes who it is that is swimming in lane 3 for approximately 3-4 hours on warm summer evenings when people are inclined either to keep their windows open or simply enjoy the pleasant natural outdoor sounds of summer. If it pleases you to believe that there are those in the City that would like to see children kept from having fun go right ahead. But you simply will continue to choose to be misinformed.
Guy Provenza July 21, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Your senses must really be under assault this week with all the amplified music from the Founder's Festival. Much louder than the swim meets, and lasting much later in the evening, too.


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