Not much clamor for a noise ordinance
Is a quest for quiet with a noise ordinance in town simply redundant? Police Chief Michael Lombardo presented a report to the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting Monday night showing only a handful of complaints over a three-year period, and describing Wiltonians as mostly cooperative.
"Almost every time we've had a noise complaint, there's been compliance," said Chief Lombardo. In 2010, the Wilton police received 27 noise complaints, 41 in 2011, and 22 so far this year, according to the chief.
He said complaints range from "loud parties at night to fireworks or dogs barking."
Chief Lombardo gave the report as a prelude to a public information meeting on the issue, which will take place on Monday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 at town hall.
The issue first arose at a selectmen's meeting in the spring, when Gary Gerard of Musket Ridge Road sounded off on the issue, saying his neighborhood is plagued with noise from "barking dogs, ATVs and leaf blowers" in the early morning hours on weekends.
Selectman Jim Saxe, who is the board's liaison on this issue, asked Chief Lombardo Monday what is the recourse when residents are disturbed by barking dogs.
Chief Lombardo replied that an animal control officer handles the complaint, and that "harboring a nuisance dog" is a ticketed infraction, if necessary.
For loud parties, residents may also be charged with "creating a public disturbance or disorderly conduct," which also comes with a fine, Chief Lombardo said.
First Selectman Bill Brennan said neighboring towns are split fairly evenly when it comes to having noise ordinances, and asked Chief Lombardo if he has spoken with his fellow police chiefs in the area about the issue.
"The chiefs in the area who are in towns that have noise ordinances do not feel it is actually necessary, or actually enforced," Chief Lombardo said. "They don't use it much and they generally get compliance."
Also, Chief Lombardo said if a noise ordinance is adopted, the town must purchase a decibel reader, at a price of about $6,000. Police officers must then be trained and certified to use it, similar to a radar unit.
"We need to decide if this is a significant issue," said Mr. Brennan. "Is it rising to the level of a need for an ordinance?"
After the public information meeting Monday, the selectmen will put the issue on the agenda for their next regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, and consider whether to move forward or not.