By Leah Banks –
PEACHTREE CITY — The Peachtree City Council discussed the possibility of instituting a noise ordinance in their meeting on March 17.
The noise ordinance was discussed due to the issue of loud music and noises being played on golf cart paths and led to further discussion on loud noises being unhealthy for hearing.
Sound is measured by decibels, and excessive noise is harmful to health. Under the proposed ordinance, any noise above 55 decibels for an extended period of time at a residential property during “night” would violate the law.
According to the proposed ordinance, between 55-60 decibels would be permitted during the day for most people, while industrial and commercial sites would be allowed up to 75 decibels.
The drafted ordinance also outlaws persistent barking dogs, and other animal sounds at any time of the day as well as the use of power tools and equipment at night.
The council was unable to define what constitutes night, with one member suggesting the term refer to any time after sundown.
Council members were at a crossroads with the decibel measurements, given the broad parameters and regulations. Comments such as “I think it’s too vague” and “I think it’s too broad” rang from each side of the council stage.
Peachtree City Mayor Kim Learnard closed this meeting with the statement of the council discussing the drafted ordinance.
“The Ordinance includes what we consider to be reasonable times and reasonable decibels at reasonable distances,” Learnard said. “We hope for public input in the coming weeks as both council and staff work to make sure we have something that is beneficial, serves the intended purpose, and is enforceable.”
Council Member Frank Destadio called the ordinance a good step forward for Peachtree City during the council meeting.
“I think this is a good step forward.” he said. “It doesn’t solve everybody’s problem and I’m sure there are going to be people out there that aren’t going to like it, but I think it’s a great step in the right direction.”
When asked about the enforcement of the ordinance, many members of the council questioned how the ordinance would be enforced and whether the police department would constantly be called.
As the noise ordinance is discussed in public discourse and within the council and staff, the question of enforcement is one that Learnard is still looking into as she researches how other counties regulate their noise ordinances.
“It is important to standardize the measurement of dBAs, so cities use meters designed for this purpose. Some cities provide hand-held noise meters to Police and Code Enforcement. Using these units calls for a certain amount of calibration and staff training on an annual basis,” Learnard said.
Learnard hopes that the addition of an updated noise ordinance will provide safety for the community and give others a sense of insight into how to think of others.
“Peachtree City would like to add tools to our toolbox as we strive to keep our paths and our communities safe and enjoyable,” Learnard said.
The drafted noise ordinance was not provided to Fayette County News as it is still being worked on by the city council.
According to Learnard, the proposed ordinance will be discussed further during the council work session on April 7 at 4 p.m. and will be added to the council packet for the council meeting that evening at 6:30 p.m.