The Village of Roslyn Estates is proposing an amendment to its noise ordinance to make enforcement of the code easier but has decided to continue the public hearing to next month to finalize the language and content before voting on the matter.
“The problem is with noise it’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly what is and is not unacceptable,” Mayor Paul Peters said. “It’s like art. We all know what it is. I can’t define what it is, but everybody knows it when you see it.”
Peters said the amendment gives the village a “path for enforcement” to better control offensive noise in the village.
This would be done through a new proposed method of reporting which would allow two or more neighbors to report a noise violation to the village. Residents would also be able to provide evidence of the violation, including videos of the offensive noise.
Upon an investigation by the village, using the testimony of the neighbors, the building inspector or code enforcer would then be able to issue an appearance ticket.
“The code is set up to give the court and the residents the ability to understand this is possible,” Village Attorney Christopher Prior said.
The village began its public hearings on the noise ordinance amendment in July after it was suggested by residents who cited disturbances caused by their neighbors’ barking dogs and loud music. They asked the village to address the issue.
Peters said he recommends residents work out noise grievances with their neighbors in order to address issues, but that calling the police is a good method when neighborly communication does not work.
The amendment also includes a partial ban on gasoline leaf blowers, which would be enforced on the weekends between June 1 and Sept. 15. This is to diminish the noise they emit whilst also staying ahead of the curve on shifts from gasoline to electric-powered technology.
Peters said it is a “difficult balancing act” to weigh the accessibility of electric leafblowers with the interest of diminishing noise and harmful emissions from the tools.
Trustee Stephen Fox said during the August meeting that he consulted his gardener about the addition of a seasonal prohibition of gas-powered leaf blowers. He said his gardener told him that if the law as is was enacted, he might be forced to leave the neighborhood as electric leaf blowers are cost-prohibitive.
Fox said his gardener implored him not to pass the ordinance amendment.
He said his gardener told him the electric leaf blowers are not powerful enough and very expensive to maintain as they must be charged consistently and need specialized equipment to do so.
Fox said the options for gardeners then are to either not work in the village or increase pricing for residents.
Peters said the board opted for a weekend and holiday-only ban during the summer months in order to mitigate these repercussions after previously proposing an entire ban during the time period.
“So what we’re looking to do is a compromise,” Peters said.
He said the law may be revisited in the future if electric usage becomes more prevalent and accessible.
The board adjourned the public hearing Monday night to continue the discussion at the next meeting in October. The Board of Trustees will convene again at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 16.