Kenbridge could adopt noise ordinance soon

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The town of Kenbridge could adopt a noise ordinance later this month.

“I think we have come to the point of doing a final draft and that might be ready at the next meeting,” Mayor Emory Hodges said in June.

Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 19.

Having warned that the effort would be neither fast nor easy, Kenbridge officials have spent much of the year working on the town’s noise ordinance.

“It’s a complicated, challenging topic,” Councilman Michael R. Bender said. “We have to get it right.”

The town could focus on barking dogs, loud mufflers and loud music.

“All that affects the entire community,” Hodges said on the subject. “It affects the quality of life; it affects if a house will be sold.”

Town Attorney Cal Spencer warned officials that the town will have to be precise in what it develops because “as soon as you pass an ordinance you’re going to have residents saying you need to enforce it.”

And, in fact, council members are worried about the ordinance opening a flood-gate of complaints and legal wrangling over barking dogs.

Consequently, Hodges has insisted that whatever the town develops “needs to be simple and direct, what you’re trying to get after.”

As the town looks into the ordinance it is also looking into the equipment used to measure noise.

Raymond Hite, a council member and police chief, has said the noise meters cost between $1,000-$2,500, and there is a strict, 28-point guideline of specifications for the equipment to meet to get a potential conviction.

Kenbridge started reviewing its noise ordinance after the county adopted its own and asked the towns to consider it. The county ordinance calls for meters to be used to gauge noise.

Victoria changed its noise ordinance late last year making sure not to require the use of meters, and has since said it is content with what it has.