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Polk explores solution to Silver Creek community noise issues

State breach of trust requires three complainants

Instead of enacting a noise ordinance, Polk County Commissioners are exploring different ways to control issues some Silver Creek residents experience with noise and other disturbances.

Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 5 and discussed a state law regarding breach of peace with Polk County Magistrate Lionel Gilbert. Gilbert recently met with Silver Creek Community residents who have expressed concern over excessive noise, including loud music and the shooting of guns.

Gilbert said the law requires three separate households to file a complaint before the sheriff’s office can issue charges such as a criminal summons to appear in court. He said it is then up to the district attorney (DA) whether or not to prosecute.

Gilbert said the court costs to the defendant alone are usually a deterrent, with one offense being $176 in court costs, plus whatever fine a judge may issue.

Gilbert said his office would set a court date quickly, usually within two weeks.

Several residents in the Silver Creek Community in Mill Spring approached the county planning board and commissioners requesting a noise ordinance. The planning board discovered that because the community is not in a zoned area of the county, a noise ordinance wasn’t in their scope of recommendations. The majority of commissioners also said they do not want a noise ordinance, particularly because it would have to be implemented countywide.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson, the only commissioner to express support of a noise ordinance, asked how the state law is different than an ordinance like one on the books in Henderson County.

Gilbert said a noise ordinance is up to an officer to determine what is too much noise.