Press Editorial: Shush if in South HeartSouth Heart City Council members decided it can get a little too loud in their small town and are restricting noise between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
South Heart City Council members decided it can get a little too loud in their small town and are restricting noise between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
But what constitutes noise? Apparently, trains and snow removal noise are not noise in South Heart as the council exempted them from the new ordinance. (At least that’s what the three of the five council members who were at the meeting decided). Noise, according to the council, can be heard at “a disturbing level” at 150 feet away.
The ordinance is lacking teeth. Who will decide what “a disturbing level” is? What one considers noise may be an ideal tune for someone else.
Who is the enforcer? If John Smith doesn’t like the sound of his neighbor’s garage door slamming when he comes home from a late night of work, is that noise worth calling authorities over? We hope it doesn’t come to such pettiness but with this new law, it could.
Does the officer have nothing better to do than arrest a crying baby in the middle of the night if someone complains or hush football fans after a big game? And officers better make sure to arm themselves with a decibel meter next to their Tasers in case a really loud high-stress situation arises.
South Heart’s I Don’t Know Bar owner Mike Sticka worries the regulation will affect his business, known in the area for providing live music, which can often be hard to find in southwest North Dakota.
And yes, it can get loud, Sticka admits. As he said at the Monday meeting, “It might shut me down — 10:30 p.m. is when people start getting loud, that’s when people have fun.”
But he is trying. He has taken steps to limit noise and appears to work with those who are offended — in fact, it seems he works with the community on a number of issues, including raising thousands of dollars for the local fire department through a pull tab machine. We hope this ordinance will not hurt his business.
Noise ordinance violators will be fined 50 bucks for the first offense and double for the next.
There must be disturbing the peace, or disorderly laws already on the books that can cover undesirable noise problems? Adding another ordinance to the list isn’t the answer.
Letting your neighbor know they are creating an undesirable environment should be the first step in solving problems in small-town North Dakota.
Council member Chuck Andrus says the ordinance can always be changed and common sense will dictate who is fined and who is not. We hear you Chuck. Let’s hope that is the case.
— The Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss issues of importance to the community.