Colonie town officials will be bringing a revised version of the town’s noise ordinance to the second part of a public hearing on Thursday, July 16 before bringing the new law to a vote.
The new regulations call for the nightly allowed decibel level of noise on residential properties to be lowered to 60 decibels from the 75 decibel restriction that is currently in place, and for the definition of the hours to be from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. (before the hours were 11 p.m. until 7 a.m.)
One change that was made as a result of the June 11 public hearing was the elimination of the proposed daytime decibel restriction.
According to Town Attorney Michael Magguilli, Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider, in conversations with the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, learned that if the town were not to have a set decibel limit in place for daytime hours, the DA’s Office could then prosecute individuals who are making excessive noise with disorderly conduct charges.
Magguili said Heider informed the town attorney’s office that if they had set a decibel limit, this prosecution would not be possible with the DA’s Office. The possible penalty for being charged with disorderly conduct is a fine of up to $250 and/or up to 15 days in jail, at the judge’s discretion. It is considered a violation.
On the third offense of the noise ordinance as it currently exists, the penalty could be about the same.
But according to Town Councilman Robert Becker, town officials decided not to eliminate the decibel level during the night because they felt setting a limit was important so that residents had something to follow. We needed to have some kind of set standard, Becker said.
The first part of the public hearing was held on Thursday, June 11 but was to be continued in July so that town officials could take the concerns of residents who spoke out at the hearing into account.
Becker, who has been working with the town attorney’s office on the new ordinance regulations, said the concerns of the residents have been heard and were made a part of the new regulations.
The newest part of the proposed ordinance involves times that garbage can be picked up from residential properties. The proposed regulations ask that garbage not be picked up from a residential property between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Allegra Edelman, an attorney in the Town Attorney’s office, said that this was a major concern of many residents at the last Town Board meeting. Many residents at the meeting complained of loud garbage trucks banging outside their windows at early hours of the morning.
The proposed law includes a provision which would mandate that in six months, town officials review the effectiveness of the law they have in place, Magguilli said.
`In six months, we’re required to sit down and review any enforcement issues and if it’s assisting the residents,` Magguilli said.
At that point, Edelman said the town can go back and make revisions as needed.
Becker said he is confident that these changes should make most residents more comfortable with the noise laws in the town, but that not everyone would be satisfied, in particular with the elimination of the daytime decibel limit that was initially proposed in June.
But still, he said, his hope is that residents will be able to use the new law to begin to work on coming up with practical solutions instead of simply involving law enforcement, such as talking to their neighbors.
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