Where Do We Draw The Line?
Debbie Quinn, Methuen City Council
I cant believe Im
even writing about this, but here we go again. In 2003,
an ordinance was passed stating that from 11:00pm to
7:00am the noise levels shall not exceed 50 decibels and
that at all other times, the noise levels shall not
exceed 70 decibels. So we already have an ordinance on
the books to address noise and it works. Thats
why Methuen does not need any changes to the ordinance or
more laws to address noise.
But my fellow councilor Robert Andrew disagrees. He
believes that 10:00am is more appropriate on Sundays for
lawn mowing and wants to change the noise ordinance to
reflect that. Why 10:00am? Why not 11:00am? Why not
2:00pm? For that matter lets just say no to all
noise on Sundays. Lets just pass an ordinance that
says you can not cut your grass ALL DAY SUNDAY.
Where do we draw the line? Some people work six days a
week and get home late after work. Many people cannot get
to mow their lawns after work with so many other family
commitments. Weekends are when many people mow their laws
and who is the government to say that 9:00am on Sunday is
too early. It is not for the Methuen City Council
to say, Mow your lawn on Monday through Saturday or
too bad! People want to mow and take care of their
personal piece of property. Hey those are the magic
words: personal piece of property. Your private property,
your freedom and your rights as citizens of this country
not to lose private property rights to the government.
Maybe blue is an offensive color to you, so you would
like to see all the houses on your street yellow! Where
do we draw the line? The Methuen police department has
said that someone complained about the color of
houses. (Information coming Monday, Ill get
back to you).
Do you know about decibels? Here is some information of
the many infractions of the law being committed on a
1. Normal Residential Area radiates 40 decibels
2. Lawn Mower=65-95
4. Average motorcycle=95-110
5 Car horn = 110
6. Air Conditioner=50-75
7. Football field=117
Looks like on any given day, many of us are already
exceeding our allotted decibels. Maybe we should pass a
law that says no more horn honking. Maybe Councilor
Andrew should be pushing for chain saws and horn honking
before lawnmowers. The simple truth is that it is
unreasonable for government, state or local to keep
imposing penalties on citizens doing their daily,
everyday routines. When this issue came up for the first
read, Councilor Kathleen Corey-Rahme had it right.
Use common courtesy with your neighbors, and work in a
civilized way to reach a common solution.
Government need not interfere.
You may say that your neighbor is unreasonable and
stubborn. You would like no noise before 10:00am. Lets
say youve exhausted all options of being courteous
and understanding. Thats when you could contact
your local law enforcement to intervene and mediate the
situation. We should not be legislating this issue as
there are already laws in place.
And finally, how does government enforce such an
ordinance? Do the local police have the man power to
enforce such an ordinance? Is your neighbor supposed to
film you with some type of clock to show the exact time
the crime was committed? How much do you want your
neighbor fined? Shall we impose a fine of $100 for the
first offense and $200 for the second offense? With the
third offense, the government should take away the
lawnmower and any other power tool that exceed that the
required decibels away.
Where we draw the line? In a perfect world
you love all your neighbors. They would even check with
you before planting an azalea bush to make sure the color
coordinates with your own flowers. This is America where
government needs to respect private property rights and
for goodness sake, live and LET live. Let me cut my grass
when I want to, within reason. We have reason already
11:00pm to 7:00am is off limits.
Debbie Quinn is a West End District City
Councilor in Methuen. She is in her first term and can be
reached at email@example.com
*Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The September, 2006
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