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.