During the busy construction season of 2012, the city of St. Francis received several complaints about late-night noise from roofing work.
But there was little the city could do about it because it had no clear ordinance on noise violations. On March 18, the St. Francis City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a new noise ordinance setting limits on noise and giving the city the authority to enforce those limits.
The new ordinance prohibits “any distinctly and loudly audible noise that unreasonably annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, safety, or welfare of any person, or precludes their enjoyment of property, or affects their property’s value . . .”
The ordinance specifically prohibits loud motor vehicle noises, as well as radios, televisions, musical instruments and devices, paging systems, machines, or other devices that produce sound in a distinctly and loudly audible manner so as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of any person nearby.
In addition to prohibiting some specific noises in the city, the new ordinance also limits the operation of acceptable noises from power lawn mowers, power hedge clippers, chain saws, mulchers, garden tillers, edgers, drills and other domestic power equipment to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays. These limits do not apply to snow removal equipment.
Construction noise caused by tools such as hammers, saws, drills, sanders, etc. must be limited to between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday and between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
Noise from emergency operations to preserve the safety, welfare, or public health is exempt from the time-of-day limits.
Anyone found in violation of the new ordinance would be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
The council failed to give first reading of a proposed nuisance ordinance March 18. City staff is recommending this ordinance because it would more specifically define nuisances, making it easier for the city to enforce nuisance rules.
However, the first reading failed 3-1 with Councilmember Mike Haggard opposed because ordinances need a four-fifths vote to pass and Mayor Jerry Tveit was absent from the meeting.
Tveit has the option to request that the nuisance ordinance be brought back for a new vote at a future council meeting.