Is a good neighbor policy a sound alternative to noise complaints?
Would a good neighbor policy serve as an effective alternative to a noise ordinance? First Selectman Bill Brennan posed the idea that such a benign "standard of conduct" for the town might help curb noise complaints without taking the formal step of adopting an ordinance.
At Tuesday's Board of Selectmen's meeting, Mr. Brennan said he had discussed the good neighbor plan with Ken Bernhard, Wilton's town counsel, and a former state representative from Westport. Mr. Bernhard suggested town officials use the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research to investigate the idea, according to Mr. Brennan. "We can find out if other towns have good neighbor policies," he said.
The goal is to "come to a standard of conduct" that lists the hours in which a leaf blower might be used, for example, Mr. Brennan said.
The selectmen have been looking into the possibility of a noise ordinance, and held a public information meeting on the subject on Sept. 23, which drew a sparse crowd.
Mr. Brennan said noise problems have not "risen to a level" that warrants a townwide ordinance, but that residents who are having issues might be helped by the good neighbor policy instead.
However, Gary Gerard of Musket Ridge Road told the selectmen Tuesday that such a policy will be ineffective. Mr. Gerard has said his neighborhood is plagued by "barking dogs, ATVs, and leaf blowers," and that workers in the adjacent Silvermine Golf Course run leaf blowers and noisy lawn equipment in the early mornings and on weekends. "A good neighbor policy will not affect in any way or change the folks at the Silvermine Golf Course," he said.
Mr. Gerard said he now plans to ask the Planning & Zoning Commission to take up the issue.
Mr. Brennan said town officials were attempting to come up with an alternative plan to "creating an ordinance that will last for years and years." Also, he said, Wilton police have described residents as cooperative and compliant when it comes to noise complaints.
At the public information meeting, police Chief Michael Lombardo said that in 2010, the Wilton police received 27 noise complaints, 41 in 2011, and 22 so far this year.