Making good on their pledge to listen to the public, the Board of Selectman (BoS) formally addressed the issue of noise regulation in Wilton at their regularly-scheduled meeting last night, located at
Robert Nerney, Wilton’s Director of Land Use and Management, presented before the board on the topic of noise complaints. Tat the last BoS meeting.
But the answer to the question, “Do you consider noise to be a significant issue in this town?” as posed by First Selectman William Brennan, remains unclear.
“I’m not sure. We don’t hear all the complaints,” responded Nerney. “
It’s a complicated issue,” he said.
Wilton has zoning regulations which address the issue of noise associated with Wilton-based businesses, an area which Nerney is familiar with. However, complaints of residential noises—those induced by leaf blowers and machines of similar nature—are not covered under any noise restrictions. Also, noise complaints are often made to the police, not town hall.
Furthermore, Nerney said that the town’s current equipment—a sound meter from Radioshack—for measuring noise levels would not be suited for enforcement purposes.
“We have an inexpensive sound meter that seems to work pretty well,” said Nerney, who then cautioned that it “would not work well in legal proceedings” should a fine be contested in court.
The decibel-detector is mainly used to test noise levels on the edge of property lines for loud businesses. Zoning regulations prohibit a business for creating noise above 80 decibels during the day time or above 55 decibels after 10 p.m., according to Nerney.
Residential noise complaints “would fall under the category of disturbing the peace” more so than an area involving zoning ordinances, said Nerney. This would, of course, require input from the Wilton Police Department.
“The police may already have some guidelines which they use” to determine what constitutes a valid noise complaint, said Selectman Hal Clark.
Brennan agreed, and said that he would invite the police into a future meeting for commentary.
In the mean time, Brennan said they had to “find out how many towns in Conn. have noise ordinances,” and compare and contrast them.
“New Canaan’s was pretty specific” said Brennan.
Greenwich is currently going through a similar problem, albeit for a regulation specifically aimed at leaf blowers.
In Wilton Patch's unofficial poll last week, Wiltonia appeared split. A slight edge of 48 to 41 voters said they thought a noise oridnance was a "good idea."