A noisy discussion that began in March in Jefferson will continue Monday during the city council’s regularly scheduled work session.
During the meeting, the Jefferson City Council is expected to discuss potential changes to the city’s noise ordinance as proposed by City Manager John Ward.
In the draft addition, Ward proposes that it would be unlawful for anyone “to play, use, operate, or permit to be played, used or operated any sound amplifying device or other machines or devices” that can be heard within 50 feet of the “sound producing property line” after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after 12:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Outside of those time frames, the current noise ordinance guidelines would dictate acceptable sound levels.
The current discussions surrounding the city’s existing noise ordinances center around Mike’s Down Under, a pub and grill in downtown Jefferson.
Although the pub is located on a commercial property, there are several residential areas surrounding the establishment. Neighbors have complained that the existing noise ordinance doesn’t do enough to keep them from being disturbed by weekly band performances.
Currently, all noise levels are required to be kept below specified levels after 10 p.m. In residential areas, noise levels can’t be higher than 45 decibels, while in commercial areas the acceptable noise level is less than 60 decibels and in industrial areas it’s less than 70 decibels.
In measuring noise levels, a sound reading is taken from the property line of the receiving property. Since some of the homes in the area are on commercially zoned properties, the allowable sound level is higher than residents would like.
Jefferson residents aren’t the first to take issue with noises emanating from nearby businesses.
In January, residents in Gainesville’s Newtown neighborhood raised issues about the noise coming from Blaze Recycling and Metals.
The business is on a heavy industrial site that abuts residentially zoned properties without the benefit of a buffer, a leftover from less stringent zoning regulations. Environmental engineers have measured noise levels in Newtown at 32 times that of normal residential areas. Although no new noise ordinances have been proposed for Gainesville, city officials said in January that they wanted to meet with Blaze owners before proposing any new rules.
Hoschton residents have also taken noise complaints to their city council. In February, residents complained to the Hoschton City Council that a shooting range behind the Braselton Water Reclamation Facility off Josh Pirkle Road has been a continual problem since January 2008.
Because the shooting range is not in Hoschton city limits, officials told residents that they had no authority to enforce its noise ordinances in a different city’s jurisdiction.