Noise Bylaw survey results: 50% in favor of a law while 37% disagree

Noise Bylaw need from survey results
(click to enlarge)

Right: A Town survey found that opinions are split over the need for a bylaw to limit noise disturbances.

Last month, the Town asked the public to weigh in on what should/shouldn’t be considered for a potential Noise Bylaw. Last week, the Noise Bylaw Committee presented their survey’s results.

473 people responded. (All but three identified as residents). Half supported the need for a Noise Bylaw (29% “strongly”). Another 37% disagreed (24% “strongly”).

60% of respondents said that hours shouldn’t be the only considerations of a noise bylaw. Close to that figure opined that there should be restrictions on “intensity, level, or volume of a noise source”. As for how to measure noise, 51% specified that a measurement device should be used while 28% wanted police officers to use discretion.

Residents were asked to identify noises that do/don’t bother them at home. A list of 14 noise sources was provided with the option of adding others in the comments. The four with highest number of Very/Extremely annoying/disturbing responses were:

  • Leaf blowers – 28%
  • Landscaping activities – 25%
  • Vehicles/Motorcycles – 18%
  • Construction activity – 13%

The least disturbing to respondents were House alarms, Concerts/festivals, and Public venues. But even those had a handful of detractors.

The bylaw committee solicited feedback on preferred starting and ending hours for activities, and whether it differed by contractor or homeowner. The clearest delineations were Sundays, Legal Holidays, and ending times. For that, participants tended to be more lenient for homeowners.

Many wanted no work for contractors on Sundays and Legal Holidays. More just wanted increased limits on the hours those days. Preferred ending times for homeowners were fairly split including hours as late as 10:00 pm. Most preferred contractors to end any work by 5:00 or 6:00 pm.

Preferred starting times for work on weekdays and Saturdays tended to be similar regardless of who is doing the work. The most popular across the board was 8:00 am. The second most popular was 7:00 am for weekdays and 9:00 am for Saturdays.  

You can find the full results, which is chock full of comments, here.

Since my husband, who is a member of the committee, participated in the discussion with selectmen, I’ll point you to the Community Advocate’s coverage of that.

The committee is charged with drafting a bylaw to recommend to voters at this spring’s Annual Town Meeting. The committee’s next meeting is on February 2nd. In that meeting, they will continue work on drafting a bylaw and discuss plans for another public forum on the topic. 

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