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Public hearing scheduled to consider amendment to Ogdensburg noise ordinance

pOGDENSBURG — One of the first items on tonight’s City Council agenda is a public hearing regarding a proposed amendment to the city’s noise ordinance. /ppProblems with the noise ordinance first surfaced in May when organizers from the proposed OG Riverfest 2019 had an application to register sound equipment turned down by the city’s chief of police. /ppIn addition to having the registration turned down, because organizer Joe Howe said he didn’t know the exact equipment the event would be using, organizers did not think they could adhere to the ordinances provision that amplified sound be no more than 15 dbA over ambient sound at any property line. /ppA decibel level of 15 dbA is equivalent to the noise level of a conversation. /ppAt the May 13 City Council meeting Mr. Howe asked for a waiver for the ordinance because he did not think he could meet its restrictions. /ppMr. Howe explained that he talked with City Police Chief Andrew D. Kennedy about the possibility of violating the noise ordinance, which Mr. Kennedy suspected would be the case with the concert./pp“I don’t want it coming down to the last minute and him having phone calls about noise ordinances during the daytime,” Mr. Howe said./ppOgdensburg Mayor Wayne L. Ashley said he didn’t think the council could do anything./pp“How can we, the City Council, give you a waiver to break the law for two days?” Mr. Ashley said. “I don’t think it can be done. I don’t think we have the authority to say, ‘OK Joe, you can break the law for two days and Mr. X over here, you can’t break the law on the third day.”/ppAt City Council’s May 28 meeting Deputy Mayor Daniel E. Skamperle and City Councilor David G. Price introduced a resolution to amend the noise ordinance portion of the city code./pp“Our noise ordinance is pretty much useless, and we need to come up with a new noise ordinance,” Mr. Skamperle said./ppMr. Skamperle said he looked at Watertown’s noise ordinance for comparison./pp“Basically, they keep it very simple,” he said. “If there is going to be an event or something, it clearly states the city council can issue permits for certain events which may generate sounds in excess of the stated level. It’s that simple.”/ppThe major changes proposed in the amendment are that the city manager, rather than the police chief, be charged with handling the registration of sound amplification equipment for events, that the limit of amplified sound of 15dbA above ambient at property lines be scrapped and be replaced with a level of 105dbA and that the city manager with a majority vote of council can grant permission to exceed the 105dbA limit./pp“The gist of this,” Mr. Skamperle said, “is putting the power of this back in the hands of council.”/ppThe council meets at 7 p.m. today in City Hall. /p


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