Wilton should have a noise pollution ordinance.
That’s the sentiment Gary Gerard expressed at Tuesday night’s Board of Selectman meeting during the time set aside for public comment.
Gerard, who described himself as a 28-year Musket Ridge resident, stated that a number of early-morning noises on the weekend disturbed his lifestyle.
“Since 1983, Musket Ridge has become noisier,” he said. Gerard said that noise coming from "ATV vehicles" and machinery such as leaf blowers created an unrest in his neighborhood during the weekend hours as early as “a quarter to seven” a.m.
Wilton does not have noise ordinance regulations. From the town’s website: "Wilton does not regulate by ordinance noise volume or restrict the time or days for noise on either residential or commercial properties." Large-scale building projects may prove an exception to this rule, as governed by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
This is something Gerard would like to see fixed. He cited towns such as Norwalk and New Canaan for having noise ordinances that are reinforced by a finable offense.
Each town varies with its noise ordinance rules. Norwalk, for example, has regulations on construction-related noise no earlier than 8 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday, but these appear to be related to construction-specific noise only, and do not appear to include the use of noisy household products, such as leaf blowers.
Ridgefield has a more thorough noise ordinance, although the town allows lawn care devices to be exempt from the ordinance between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. provided that they are in adequate working condition and the noise does not reach beyond a certain decibel level. Owners of excessively noisy animals may be subject to a first-time fine of $60, as would all other persons who break the residential noise ordinance in a various number of ways.
New Canaan has an ordinance prohibiting all “motorized equipment or machinery,” “such as snow blowers, snow throwers, leaf blowers…chainsaws…and generators” to operate beyond a 45 decibel prior to 8 a.m. or later than 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and prior to 10 a.m. or later than 4 p.m. on Sundays. Fines for violating the ordinance in New Canaan begin at a minimum of $100.
“This is not a new subject," said First Selectman William Brennan, who, while appearing sympathetic, reminded the audience that a public hearing and public comment would be needed before an ordinance could pass.
"One of the things we would do is get a broad spectrum of maybe 10 towns" to compare and assess the pros and cons of their different noise ordinances, said Brennan.
Brennan then recounted an anecdote from the past.
"I remember, someone had a rooster next door. [The crowing] sounds bucolic and nice at first, but after a while you're running around trying to put an end to this rooster," he chuckled.
The Board agreed that they would look into the matter and solicit public opinions in the future.