Silver Creek residents still losing sleep over noise issues

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 17, 2013

Planning board cannot act on unzoned areas

The Polk County Planning Board was advised last week that it cannot work on a proposed noise ordinance because the complaints are not related to planning or zoning.

The planning board met Thursday, June 13 and reviewed a letter from Polk County Attorney Jana Berg. The planning board was recently asked Silver Creek Community residents to draft a noise ordinance after complaints were made of loud music, vehicles and gunshots throughout the neighborhood.

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Berg said a noise ordinance is not something that would be handled by the planning department or board, but would instead go through the process the county utilizes to adopt ordinances that are unrelated to zoning.

The request will have to be handled through the board of commissioners, with county planner Cathy Ruth saying she has forwarded Berg’s letter to commissioners.

“While it is possible to amend our zoning ordinance to incorporate noise standards, I understand the citizen who is concerned about noise at his residence lives in an unzoned area of the county,” Berg said. “Therefore, if we were to consider amending the existing zoning ordinance to incorporate noise standards rather than have a stand alone noise ordinance, those standards would not be applicable to the area in which he resides.”

About a dozen residents attended the planning board meeting held in May who said they have neighbors shooting guns and revving engines through the night. A petition with approximately 30 signatures was also presented to the planning board.

Silver Creek Community resident Ronald Deal told planning board members he has people next door playing loud music to the point to where he has to wear earphones in his home and that he can’t sleep.

Silver Creek resident Don Yarbrough spoke of a person shooting a gun behind his house and another shooting a gun in front of his house just before the meeting last month to the point he was afraid to go out of his door. Some planning board members were sympathetic of the concerns and had plans to invite the sheriff to the June meeting to discuss what type of noise regulations could be enforceable.

Polk County approved a noise ordinance in June 2004, but it was rescinded later that year after the then sheriff said he couldn’t enforce the ordinance the way it was written.

The 2004 noise ordinance included decibels, which was the enforcement issue. The matter will now have to go to the board of commissioners, which commissioners can address during a regular meeting.