Hobart council expands excessive-noise restriction
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent November 7, 2012 10:58PM
HOBART — The City Council on Wednesday approved a stricter noise ordinance that covers all hours instead of just normal sleeping hours in most instances, citing an ongoing situation in which police need help with enforcement.
The new ordinance is effective immediately.
Those ticketed under the law would need to go to city court, where they could be fined as much as $2,500, according to Council President Dave Vinzant, D-4th.
Vinzant said the law passed about two years ago prohibited excessive noise from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. He said noise is considered excessive if someone can hear it inside their house with the windows and doors shut.
“But you could be as loud as you want during the day under the ordinance,” Vinzant said.
He said there have been instances of people playing loud music before 11 p.m., but when school children are trying to sleep.
“When we passed the ordinance with the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. hours we thought people would be reasonable. But some have not,” Vinzant said, leading to the all-day restriction.
The council approved two exceptions based on his recommendation: home improvement projects can take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and lawn care from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“These are normal activities that won’t take place day-in and day-out,” Vinzant said.
Councilman Mathew Claussen, D, at-large, a Hobart police officer, said there needs to be enough leeway to allow responding police or code enforcement officers to have some discretion in making a decision on whether the noise is too loud.
City Attorney Anthony DeBonis asked that the council wait to adopt the amended ordinance, saying he wanted to draw up a proper ordinance for the next meeting. But Claussen said a situation in the city needs immediate attention and the police officers needed the amendment to deal with it.
Councilman John Brezik, D-5th, said someone has been repairing motorcycles in his garage, making a lot of noise, as well.
Resident Larry Brown asked who would be enforcing the noise ordinance and if it would include loud motorcycles.
Mayor Brian Snedecor said code enforcement is part of the police department now. He added that loud motorcycles already are prohibited under the ordinance.