The East Hampton Town Board this week will consider amendments to its noise code that some board members feel would more accurately identify noise pollution.
The board will hold a public hearing when it meets on Thursday, June 20, on a law that would base noise violations on the “ambient sound” of a community—that is, “the all encompassing noise level associated with a given environment,” according to a copy of the amendment.
The Town Code currently doesn’t take the background noise into consideration when Ordinance Enforcement or Town Police officers are called out to measure noise at a given property, according to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. He said that system could skew a noise reading.
“It’s something that we’ve totally ignored or haven’t recognized properly, that background noise itself may be offensive and may be causing some of the citations,” said Mr. Wilkinson. “We tried to do a law that was cognizant of what’s in the environment already and right above that.”
Councilwoman Theresa Quigley said the new law seems to be a more “fair approach” in assessing noise. “If you go into downtown Montauk, the hamlet of Montauk, and you go into the middle of Northwest Woods, there are two different ambient noise levels,” she said.
The amended law defines various noise terms, including noise pollution, which it states as being injurious to the public health or welfare, causing temporary or permanent hearing loss, exceeds standards or restrictions of “unreasonable noise” and any “excessive or unusually loud sound that disturbs the peace, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or injures or endangers the health, or safety, of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities, or which causes interference with the reasonable use and enjoyment of property.”
The law also lists certain activities “deemed to disturb the peace, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.” Those include the use of any loudspeaker, public address system, amplification system or other similar device outside any building or structure and audible between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following day—except when used in connection with a public emergency; owning a pet that creates a noise disturbance frequently or for a continued duration; music originating from a commercial establishment or enterprise when it is in excess of five decibels above ambient level and more.
The public hearing will take place at Town Hall on Pantigo Road at 7 p.m.