Noise Bylaw to Go Before Voters

Milford Selectmen voted 2-1 to put a noise bylaw banning certain loud and late-night noises before annual Town Meeting voters.

A noise bylaw that supporters say should relieve problems in congested neighborhoods — where neighbors keep each other awake with parties, barking dogs and other intrusive noises — will go to Annual Town Meeting for a vote.

Milford Selectmen voted 2-1 to put the bylaw, on the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting. Specific exemptions are expected to be added to reflect any concerns from the town's police chief, whose officers would enforce the new rules.

Concerns have been raised about early-morning snowblowing being prohibited, for example, so an exemption could be made for homeowners trying to clear their drives and walkways.

"It's summertime now, and people want to be assured that we're moving in the right direction," said Dino DeBartolomeis, chairman.

If approved, Milford police would, for the first time, have the power to ticket people and businesses who disturb others with excessive noise. Penalties include a fine up to $300 for each violation. If the noise is made by renters, the landlord must be notified in writing that an offense has taken place.

The new bylaw is based on those used in other communities, and would:

  • Prevent people from playing radios, TVs, musical instruments and other devices at a volume that would disturb "the reasonable quiet, comfort or repose" of people living or working in the vicinity.
  • Ban yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, singing or any other such noise on public streets or in public spaces between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Prohibit owners from keeping animals or birds that make frequent or continued noise that disturbs others.
  • Give police officers the authority to make reasonable judgements about noise. The bylaw does not tie noise to a specific decibel level.
  • Prohibits noise generated by construction, and other businesses, including jack hammering, use of power tools and idling of diesel trucks, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Selectman William Buckley voted against the motion to place the item on the warrant, saying he wasn't satisfied that Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin had had an opportunity to review the proposal and suggest changes.

"It is Chief O'Loughlin's department that has to enforce this," he said.

DeBartolomeis and Brian Murray, who supported it, said the details could be adjusted on the town meeting floor if need be. The noise bylaw had been expected to reach a special town meeting last October, but was shelved it could prohibit legitimate noises, including students practicing instruments, or homeowners trying to use snow clearing devices that make noise, early in the morning.

Many residents were disappointed the prohibitions didn't go forward. Murray read aloud a letter from one homeowner, who said his neighbor's frequent partying made it difficult for his young child to get to sleep on Friday nights.

"It was a mistake, Bill, not to go forward several months ago," DeBartolomeis said.

Eleanor March 31, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Mary, I have a question for you. If this law is passed in May does it go into effect right away? I would love to have it in place over the summer!!
Mary MacDonald March 31, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Hi Eleanor, I'm not sure. I would have to check with the town counsel. But I know that was the intention of selectmen in putting it before voters this spring.
Eleanor April 10, 2012 at 01:22 PM
HI Mary, Any idea (from the meeting last night) if we will have some sort of noise law in place soon?
Danielle Horn April 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Hi, Eleanor - Mary's on vacation but I covered the meeting last night. There is a noise bylaw on the warrant for town meeting, so depending on whether voters approve it, yes, it could be in place soon. I mentioned it in my story today. Here's the latest story Mary had on it: http://milford-ma.patch.com/articles/noise-bylaw-to-go-before-voters
Sandra Malkin August 23, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I am a Milford resident home owner living on Highland Street. I have a neighbor who lives directly across from me who has parties at all hours of the night with motorcycles revving at all hours of the night on weekends AND he starts his motorcycle up at 6:00am (sometimes earlier) each morning this summer and lets it idle for about 15 minutes (this bike is extremely loud) NO KIDDING it is so loud that I have to close my windows. Whichh I should NOT have to do!! This does not solve the noise problem either. I work at night and am wakened every day by this ungodly rev rev reving of this bikeand lengthy idling!!! I want the noise ordinance to be voted in and enforced PLEASE


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