Southold hosts public hearing on noise ordinance

07/06/2011 12:41 AM |

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Ruth Ann Bramson speaks at Tuesday's public hearing on Southold's noise ordinance proposal.

Southold Town may adopt its first-ever noise ordinance in two weeks, making it the last town on Long Island to regulate sound.

If adopted, the law will allow noise levels up to 65 decibels when measured at the noise-maker’s property line between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday  and between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. At all other times, noise will be limited to 50 decibels.

The board held an intense, hour-long public hearing on the proposed law Tuesday night.

At the public hearing, Ray Huntington of the Fleet’s Neck Property Owners Association in Cutchogue wondered whether the ordinance would regulate helicopter noise.

“Unfortunately, it has no bearing on helicopter noise,” said Town Supervisor Scott Russell, adding that the Federal Aviation Administration does not allow municipalities to regulate helicopter noise.

“If it’s going to be enforced against us, it should be enforced against helicopters,” said Mr. Huntington.

Ruth Ann Bramson of East Marion congratulated the board for its work on the law, which was first proposed by her community more than five years ago due to loud noise emanating from The Blue Dolphin Resort.

A woman named Maria from East Marion, who lives diagonally across from The Bue Dolphin, said tthe noise from that establishment “has totally changed my quality of life,” and has persisted since before her young son was born.

“I have to close my windows to watch TV,” she said. “We tried to work on the good neighbor thing. It didn’t work.”

She asked what the town can do to ensure that it is serious about enforcing the new law.

Mr. Russell said that the use of noise meters to gauge the noise level would ensure the law could be enforced.

“It’s not a subjective judgement call on the part of a police officer,” he said. “We wanted to remove that subjectivity.”

David Evans of Peconic commended the board for taking the issue seriously, but said that one issue was not included in the ordinance: “the uncontrolled yelping and howling of a dog.”

“If it is possible to include that I would be very grateful,” he said.

Luckily for Mr. Evans, Southold’s Town Code already addresses that issue.

“That was the one noise code we had in the town: barking dogs,” said Mr. Russell.

Mary Ann Liberatore of Orient asked what implications the code will have on wharfs and yacht clubs, citing a fishing boat in her community that starts up its motor at 4 a.m.

“I think this is a great start but I don’t think it addresses all implications,” she said.

Mr. Russell said that the town has budgeted for 11 or 12 noise meters and a road sergeant will always have a noise meter available for officers on patrol to use, as will code enforcement officers.

The law sets fines not to exceed $500 for the first offense and not to exceed $2,500 for each subsequent offense.

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716 Comment

  • here we go again all the CAVE People (Citizens Against Vertually Everything) are at it again. Ms Bramson how has the Blue Dolphon changed ur quality of living? U are trying to change the local people’s quality of living and dont consider urself a local if u only moved out here 12 years ago. if you werent born and raised her you arent a local u emigrated out here for a change of pace from the city life. Also if i recall u had a party not to long ago and ur music was a lil loud along with people hooting and hollering. So if u want it enforced u have to abide by it too not just a local business trying to make a living. Ms Liberatore whats wrong with going fishing at 4am? theyre just trying to make a living like any other human being in this world especially with the few job offerings there are in this poor enconomy but i guess u believe in Obama in which he says there are plenty of jobs because the economy is improving, i guess ud believe him if he said pigs could fly and cows produce some soda instead of milk….. i guess you forgot the good old north fork use to be a big fishing industry (which is a dieing breed) and some people are trying to keep that history in our town but i guess u wouldnt know that if u werent a local here all ur life.

    I can see this new noise ordinace a way of getting back at a neighbor who you dont like…. what are the penalties for someone complaining about the noise at a house where its below the maximum amount of decibels?? The complainant should be fined the same way if you were found inviolation of the proposed law or at least charged with falsely filing a report. you guys remind me of the story called “The little boy who cried wolf”

  • LOL just look at the picture for this article…is there anyone under 40 there? These are the people complaining about that loud rock music the kids are playing. Too funny!

  • Frankly I prefer to listen to my own music in my backyard. As for the over 40 audience complaining about rock music. LOL! Who do you think wrote, performed and listened to rock music. Yup, the over 40 crowd.

  • 60-70 db is normal conversation from 3 to 5 feet away. 60 db is an air conditioner running from 100 ft away….better put your window units in the windows furthest from the curb. Seems like just about everyone in town will break this law at one point or another.

  • haha good point…their generation made and played the music but now they don’t want to hear it.

  • All they have to do is turn down their hearing aids and it wont be so bad!

  • Its another code to use as a tool to randomly harass venues and musicians. Peconic Winery has an open mic every thursday. All of a sudden, as crowds of people are starting to show up to share their music, they cut back the end time because god forbid a neighbor down the block whines they’ll get fined or something. Once again music is being attacked. There is more whine in this town then wine! Cant wait til I get out. Nothing for younger folks and the whiners get their way all the fricken time. PS-love the CAVE acronym. Its so fricken true!

  • Some of us still have to get up at 6 am to go to work to survive and work 7 days a week. We are less fortunate then some others. Just have a little consideration.