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Noise law receives its first review

by Alan Lewis Gerstenecker
| August 14, 2012 11:01 AM

Libby Police officers may soon have a reason to demand that neighbor with the loud stereo to tone it down.

Libby City Council members on Monday approved a First Reading of a proposed noise ordinance that, generally, will restrict noises that disturb city residents. The First Reading, which unanimously was approved by City Council members, will allow for publication, so the public later may comment.

Libby Police Chief Jim Smith previously has said without an approved noise ordinance he can only ask residents to comply.

The motion to approve the First Reading was made by Councilwoman Peggy Williams and seconded by Vicky Lawrence.

The proposal defines the violation as an act for any person to make or cause to be made any excessive or unusually loud noise or any noise measured or unmeasured that either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of any reasonable person of normal sensitivity with the city.

The proposed ordinance specifically mentions prohibited acts, including that of sound amplifying equipment; yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or loud verbalizations between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. so as to disturb the quiet; discharging into the open air the exhaust of any stationary internal-combustion engine, motorboat or motor vehicle except through a muffler or other device; the operation of any truck, trailer, automobile, motorcycle or vehicle so out of repair or so loaded in such a manner to create loud and unnecessary grating, grinding or rattling; the loading, unloading, opening or otherwise handing of boxes crates, containers, garbage containers or other objects in such a manner as to disturb the quite between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., and operating equipment or performing any construction or repair  work on buildings, structures or projects or operating a pile-driver, steam shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick or other construction device that would disturb the quiet.

   The proposed ordinance lists exemptions of the above causes of noise that are performed in the act of emergency work for the safety and welfare of the general public.

   Specifically mentioned exemptions include the noise of safety or warning devices; noise emitting from an emergency vehicle; noise from the efforts of a special permit; noise from lawnmowers fitted with mufflers between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.; noise caused by home or building repair between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and athletic events held in parks or other events approved by permit.

   The proposed ordinance also defines fines and penalties for residents convicted of a violation of the proposed noise ordinance, which includes a fine of not more than $500 for each offense. 

   In other action, the City Council …:

• Awarded a bid to Moore Oil in Libby for unleaded gasoline, diesel fuel and propane. Moore was granted the bid for a price of $3.17 for unleaded gasoline; $3.32 for diesel fuel and $1.69 per unit of propane. The prices are subject to change, depending on the markets.

• Awarded a rock bid to Remp Sand & Gravel of Libby for $4.50 per yard of five-eighths-minus crushed gravel and $14 a yard for three-eighths-minus crushed chips.

• Mayor Doug Roll was asked whether the city would provide the watering allowance as it has in the past. Roll explained the city, which has several water projects on its agenda including a new Flower Creek Reservoir Dam, that the city would not provide the allowance for 2012. The purchase of a used backhoe for the Water Department, which cost $78,000, and other expenditures put the allowance out of reach this year. Roll said the city will look at the allowance again next year.