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Sandwich to hold hearing on noise ordinance


September 10, 2020
SANDWICH — The selectmen will hold a public hearing this coming Monday to decide on a proposed noise ordinance.

The hearing will take place on Monday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at town hall during the regular selectmen's meeting.

"Recognizing that people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive sound and vibration capable of jeopardizing health, safety or welfare, or of degrading quality of life, this Ordinance is enacted to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for residents and visitors to the Town of Sandwich," the proposed ordinance reads. "This Ordinance provides for the reduction, control and prevention of noise by prohibiting certain noise-producing activities. This Ordinance promotes inspection and enforcement by defining offenses and penalties."

The ordinance will prohibit excessive noise from vehicles and portable sound systems that are deemed by law enforcement to be over reasonable levels.

High volumes from radios, musical instruments, PA systems, and other equipment that are seen to "disturb the health, safety, and welfare of neighboring inhabitants at any time" is also prohibited.

Using the above equipment in a way it can be "plainly audible" within 50 feet or a building or vehicle is prohibited between the hours of 10 p.m.-7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays will have the Friday and Saturday hours in the case of a three-day weekend.

The ordinance will prohibit the discharge of open air exhaust on any engine, boat, and vehicle and bans the use of straight pipe exhaust systems. All vehicles will be required to have mufflers in good working order to prevent excessive noise.

The ordinance will also prohibit the use of any vehicle that produces loud grinding or rattling noises due to disrepair or heavy loads.

Snowmobiles, ATV's, trail bikes, and other recreational vehicles will be subject to the noise provisions in state law.

Operating any equipment that causes noise issues will be declared a public nuisance and might be subject to a court injunction or restraining order.

Equipment exempt from the ordinance includes bells and chimes from houses of worship and schools. sirens from emergency vehicles and alarm systems (except for burglar alarms that don't shut off after half an hour), domestic power and snow removal equipment, and any noise made during emergency work to protect people or bring a property back to a safe condition.

The first offense will be a $100 fine, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for each subsequent offense in the calendar year.

The full text of the proposed ordinance can be found on the town website at sandwichnh.org.

Martin Lord Osman
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