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Saluda approves new noise ordinance

SALUDA – The City of Saluda now has new regulations for controlling noise after reworking its noise ordinance.

 

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 14 and approved the new regulations.

 

The city previously had a noise ordinance, but it was included in a generic section of its ordinances, that covered a variety of issues from animals and noise to skateboards on sidewalks. The city decided to pull the noise regulations to a separate ordinance and make it easier to enforce.

 

City council has discussed the issue of noise for a while after receiving complaints, including residents hearing bands playing downtown.

 

City manager Jonathan Cannon said that in reworking the ordinance, he tried to stay away from measuring noise with decibels because that requires equipment as well as annual training and certification for employees.

 

Cannon said the new regulations really focus on things that are less subjective, saying officers will be able to pick a distance and a source of noise and definitely know if the noise is against the ordinance.

 

Some noise violations have been added, including prohibiting air compression brakes and tools in town. Others have been removed, like spinning tires, because, according to Cannon, an officer can give a ticket for reckless driving for that offense which has tougher state penalties.

 

The ordinance also excludes noises for city festivals and emergency work.

 

Enforcement procedures have also been added, with the first enforcement being a written letter to the entity or individual out of compliance. After the warning, the first offense is a $50 fine, the second a $250 fine and a $500 fine for anything after that.

 

Cannon said if someone is out of compliance one night, then corrects it after a written notice but does it again the next day, the next step is to issue a $50 fine.

 

Offenses within a seven-day period result in higher fines, according to the amended ordinance.

 

Commissioners discussed compression brakes and the need for a sign to be able to enforce it. City attorney Jana Berg said she thinks for state roads, the department of transportation places those signs.

 

On the noise, commissioner Mark Oxtoby said if the city tells someone to turn their music off after 11 p.m., they get a warning and if they turn it back on that night, they get a $50 fine? Cannon said yes, after the warning they would get a $50 citation.

 

A representative with Green River Brew Depot said he has moved his live music from the previous 8-11 p.m. to 7-10 p.m. and is limiting music outside to Friday nights. He said he knows the city has spent a lot of time on the ordinance and is trying to do everything he can to make things as easy as possible.

 

Saluda’s noise ordinance is applicable between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

 

The ordinance includes prohibiting noise such as a horn on a motor vehicle except as a danger signal, the use of a gong or siren on a motor vehicle that isn’t an emergency vehicle, music, television, noise from animals, compression brakes, construction noise, noises that disrupt public school, court, church or healthcare facilities, shouting and crying of peddlers, barkers, hawkers or vendors, use of any drum, speaker, instrument or devices to attract attention by the creation of noise, mechanical speakers or amplification devices on motor vehicles for advertising or other purposes, discharging squibs, crackers, gunpowder or other combustible substances, using noise or language calculated to endanger the health, safety and welfare of the public, shouting or screaming to disturb the peace and willfully or wantonly disturbing any public meeting or gathering.

 

Regulations for playing a radio, television, stereo or other musical or vocal instrument has a few specific sections.

 

The playing of any radio, television, stereo or other musical or vocal instruments in such a manner or with such volume from a motor vehicle or as a pedestrian so as to be audible from more than 100 feet from the source of the sound is prohibited, unless such device is being used to request assistance or warn against an unsafe condition.

 

The playing of a radio, television, stereo or other musical or vocal instrument, machine, mechanical device or equipment in such a manner or with such volume, during the hours between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., so as to be heard from outside the property boundary is also prohibited, according to the city’s ordinance.

 

Also prohibited is the playing of any radio, television, stereo or other musical or vocal instrument in such a manner or with such volume during the hours between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. so as to be heard from more than 1,000 feet outside the property boundary.