NORTHEAST TOWN – At its first meeting of the new year, January 5, Northeast Town council discussed amending its property standards bylaw to include noise violations in light of recent noise complaints in the municipality.
CAO Dave Williamson noted that because of the spate of noise complaints, staff undertook some research on different municipal approaches to noise bylaws. He did note, however, “that if you have a noise bylaw in place, it’s up to the municipality to enforce them 24/7.”
Most specific in the noise complaint category are those that are repetitive in nature and occur in zoning areas where this sort of noise would not normally be heard, for instance, in a residential neighbourhood.
“An option would be to integrate it (the municipality’s current noise bylaw) into the property standards bylaw,” Mr. Williamson said, explaining that this way complaints would be dealt with in the same manner as property standards issues, such as a cluttered or uncut lawn. A written complaint would be brought forward that would then be addressed by a committee of council.
Mr. Williamson went on to explain that the bylaw amendment would have a couple of caveats, such as noise that is occurring in a properly zoned area. If the area the noise was coming from was zoned accordingly (i.e. industrial or commercial), it wouldn’t be deemed a nuisance.
“I think this is a very good idea in that each individual complaint is unique and can be reviewed as such,” said Councillor Al Boyd, noting that he was in favour of the amendment.
Councillor Michael Erskine said this bylaw would not deal with the particular issues he has been hearing about from constituents. “This won’t stop vehicles running through the night, would it?” he asked. Mr. Williamson said that would be the discretion of the committee reviewing the complaint.
Councillor Erskine said he had concerns with the committee passing sweeping judgments such as what a ‘normal’ noise is and what trouble that could bring to the municipality.
Mr. Williamson reminded council that should the committee decide to rule in favour of a complainant, a ticket would be issued to the person found in violation of the bylaw which could then be argued before a judge in court.
A motion was passed to amend Bylaw 2004-36 B to include noise violations, which states “No person shall or cause a mechanical sound that is constant or intermittent that continues over an extended period of time which interferes with the neighbour’s enjoyment of their property. Noise generated in the normal course of doing business in an appropriate zone is exempt.”