Public hearing to be held on CBJ noise law

The CBJ assembly and planning commission met in a special joint session Monday night. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

The CBJ Assembly and Planning Commission met in joint session in October to work on the noise ordinance. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Noise is the top issue on the agenda at Monday’s regular Assembly meeting.

A rewrite of CBJ’s Disturbing the Peace code has been in the works for years.  The version now before the Assembly clarifies the intent of the ordinance, which is to prohibit “unreasonable noise.” It also defines unreasonable noise.

One of those unreasonable noises could be the tunes coming from a vehicle. The proposal makes it illegal for a person to blast any sound, music or vibration from a vehicle that can be heard 30 feet or more from that vehicle – at any time of day or night.

A previous version made the noise unlawful from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m., but the Assembly Committee of the Whole last month removed the time frame.

Here’s member Jerry Nankervis’ argument for keeping the hours in the law:

“I think we need to be consistent with our times,” Nankervis said during the December COW. “If we say you can blast it from your house, the neighbors have to hear that as well, even though I’m not driving by with my house. So in order to maintain consistency, we should leave that in there.”

But member Jesse Kiehl said it’s precisely because a car is on the move that it should be unlawful to play “obnoxious” noises at any time.

I can go over and talk to my neighbors if the music’s too loud. There was a low-power station when my kids were very little and I would go over and talk to them at 10-something at night about the live drum performances. And you know, it took some neighborly interaction a couple of times, but by-golly we got ’er fixed,” Kiehl said. “I don’t have any way to do that when the car goes rolling bay and shakes the windows and wakes the children.  I can’t go say ‘would you mind turning it off’ because they’re gone.”

The Assembly will take public testimony tonight during a hearing on the noise code.  The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Assembly chambers and can be heard live on KTOO-FM.