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Greenport Village Board to resurrect changes to noise code

Proposed changes to Greenport Village’s noise code that have been tabled since September could soon be up for another public hearing.

Village trustees ironed out issues in the code amendment during a work session last Thursday night after decibel limits became a sticking point in discussions.

The code change first proposed an 85-decibel limit for commercial properties that would be in effect on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Trustee Julia Robins suggested the limit be lowered to 75 decibels. “I based that on a CDC determination that sustained sound of 85 decibels can cause hearing loss,” she said.

Mary Bess Phillips initially opposed the amendment due to a requirement added that would have required businesses to seek a music permit through the village Planning Board. Instead, officials agreed to strike that from the code and instead require those permits be issued administratively at Village Hall.

The proposed code would also increase the fine structure for repeat noise violation offenders to $250 for the first, $1,000 for the second and $2,500 for the third, if approved.

While many residents spoke about residential noise issues during hearings on the proposal held earlier this year, the code is intended to address issues created by downtown businesses.

Ms. Phillips acknowledged that the village received complaints over the summer about loud music and parties in residential areas and suggested Southold police forward copies of those reports to the village code enforcement office, which can follow up on complaints and look for repeat offenders.

“I don’t believe that we should be enforcing neighbor-to-neighbor disputes in the noise code. I think that’s just overreaching a little too far,” she said.

Trustee Robins agreed, adding “I don’t think that we can codify behavior,” when residents have issues among neighbors.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. supported the new amendments, but with trustees Peter Clarke and Jack Martilotta absent, officials may wait for their input before proceeding. “We have to make sure that we’re comfortable with it before we schedule a public hearing on it,” the mayor said.