ELKTON — The County Council debated the possibility of a new county wide noise ordinance on Tuesday.
Some residents at the meeting voiced their support for noise regulations but felt the wording of the bill should be changed, arguing outdoor music venues and other commercial properties are not included in the bill.
“When a commercial property joins a residential neighborhood there should be a regulation that protects the homeowner,” Ron McNeil of Elkton said.
Russell Johnson of Elkton also said that there should be an appeal process in the event of a fine.
“Even the intrusive, nasty IRS has an appeals process,” Johnson said.
Johnson also felt that the bill would not be the best use of police resources.
“I want our police to keep us safe and go after the bad guys,” Johnson said. “Not go after my neighbor who’s using his sabre saw.”
Chesapeake City resident Cindy Hurt, said the bill doesn’t mesh well with the state law, where nighttime hours start at 10 p.m. Hurt said the language should be simple, specifically targeting live music.
“It has become a true quality of life issue for residents who live near these restaurants that provide live music,” Hurt said.
The ordinance exempts public service utilities, government, fire and ambulance, farm equipment and business industrial facilities. There were two amendments to the bill. The initial bill included a restriction on daytime noise, but currently there is amendment so the bill would only apply to nighttime hours from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Council president Bob Meffley said he introduced the amendment to remove the daytime ordinance because it would inhibit the ability for homeowners and realtors to do necessary work.
A second amendment reduces the fines of violation of the ordinance to $50 for first violation, $100 for the second and $300 for the third. The current bill is not based on a decibel meter, and instead fines are applicable if noise is audible from residential areas 50 feet away for the offending property.
Meffley said most commercial properties are in municipalities, so they are not controlled by the county.
“I don’t want to limit businesses and what they can do,” Meffley said.
Meffley said the bill was created in response to Cecil County residents voicing their concerns around noise.
The bill is set for consideration on Oct. 5.