SEA BRIGHT: The borough is making some changes to its noise ordinance.
"Apparently the decibel readers have issues with picking up non amplified sound such as loud talking," Councilman Marc Leckstein said. "So what we are doing is removing items such as loud talking from a decibel reading requirement. Music and construction noises would remain decibel-dependent."
Any measurements for noise violations must be made from at least 50 feet away from the property line from where the sound is being generated.
Resident Pam Ross said she felt the distance should be lowered a bit as there are some residents who live closer to establishments such as Tommy's Tavern and Tap. Their close proximity to the bar/restaurant, would not allow the use of the decibel readers to measure the sound. However, Leckstein said if police were called, and the property was about 40-45 feet away, he was sure they would walk back a few more feet and take a decibel reading.
Councilman Kevin Birdsall said the ordinance was originally going to begin measuring sound at least 100 feet away, but was lowered to 50 feet.
"The primary reason for 50 feet is that most of our properties in town are no more than 25 feet wide, maybe 30 feet wide in the center of town," Birdsall said. "If I'm sitting in my living room watching TV, my neighbor could probably hear it three feet away and through both walls."
Leckstein said the ordinance could not be tailored to single out any establishment in the borough.
The ordinance states that between 8 a.m.-10 p.m., sounds at or above 65 decibels (dB) and sounds between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. at or greater than 50 dB will not be allowed within 50 feet of the sound generator. When the source and receptor share a common wall, floor or ceiling or on the same parcel of property, sounds exceeding 55 dB will not be allowed between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 40 dB from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Leckstein said the fine structure of the ordinance has also been changed so that there is now a fine schedule based upon number of offenses. Currently the ordinance states that it's simply a fine of up to $ 1,250. The revised ordinance changes it to $200 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,250 for the third offense.
"After that you can get public service or prison for up to 90 days," Leckstein said. "Again, the next offense has to have occurred within 5 months of the previous one, so only a truly bad actor would ever reach a fourth offense."
The Sea Bright Council unanimously introduced the noise ordinance during its March 21 meeting and will hold a public hearing on it during the April 4 meeting. Following the public hearing, the council will vote on whether or not to adopt the ordinance.