The initiative Noise Nuisance Reduction relates to the MAP Initiative #2: Fostering Collaboration. It relates specifically to Action #1 Develop a Council of Neighborhoods to build and support the capacity of neighborhood organizations. Whether or not the Council of Neighborhoods has been established, the importance of various organizations working together is still central to this initiative. Noise nuisance was cited by residents as being an ongoing problem in the area. This issue can be reduced greatly if enforced by neighbors and police authorities.
Why this is important
Industry Neighborhood residents identified noise as one of their major concerns at the January 2015 Industry Neighborhood Associate meeting. The initiative generally falls under the larger goal of community/social improvements. This initiative was brought up during the January 2015 Industry Neighborhood Association meeting. The noise nuisance issue in particular referred to recurring, isolated incidents of cars playing music too loud at night while residents are trying to relax and enjoy their nights. Sometimes the noise wakes up sleeping children and adults. Noise nuisance reduction is important for the neighborhood because it will help residents live less disrupted lives.
What this will involve
The City of Muncie has established noise ordinances to help manage the noise nuisances. The Muncie Indiana Code of Ordinances, Section 100.01 states, “It shall be a violation of this chapter for a person to make any loud, raucous, improper, unreasonable, offensive, or unusual noise which disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the city, and continues to do so after being asked to stop by a law enforcement officer of the city.” In other words, people shouldn’t make obnoxious, disruptive noises, and must stop making such noise after being asked to stop by police officers. The remainder of chapter 100 also lists the actions to be taken by officers and other law enforcement personnel if the violation continues.
The first step in enforcing noise violations is to build a stronger relationship with patrol officers in the area and alert them to the problem. This action might well be suited for the Neighborhood Crime Watch or a safety committee under the Industry Neighborhood Association. Residents need to indicate to law enforcement how serious this problem is to them.
Simultaneously, residents in Industry and other neighborhoods might also have similar concerns about noise in their localities. By working together city residents can approach the city council to improve ordinances that better reflect concerns of the neighborhood. The Muncie City Council meets on the first Monday of every month at 7:30pm in the Muncie City Hall Auditorium. The Industry Neighborhood is located in District 6, represented by Julius Anderson. Three at-large councilors also represent the entire city of Muncie. They are Nora Powell, Linda Gregory, and Alison Quirk.
Julius Anderson, Dis. 6
Nora Powell, At-Large
Linda Gregory, At-Large
Alison Quirk, At-Large
Case Study One: A Community Establishes a Noise Reduction Manual
Noise Free America is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce noise pollution and nuisances and to elevate the issue of noise pollution with federal, state, and local officials, as well as to educate the public about the dangers of noise pollution. In 1972, the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) was established within the Environmental Protection Agency. ONAC established the Noise Control Act which sought to reduce noise pollution in communities throughout the US. However, the program was defunded by President Reagan in 1981 and has never been re-established.
Noise Free America has local chapters throughout the country which urge for the re-establishment of ONAC and the Noise Control Act.
Case Study Two: Mesa, Arizona Rewrites Ordinance and Encourages Enforcement
Responding to local residents’ need for noise nuisance reduction, the city of Mesa, Arizona re-wrote its noise ordinance. The new noise ordinance was adopted on August 24, 2009. This ordinance was created to increase neighborhood safety and reduce threats to the public peace, health, safety or general welfare. The ordinance addresses many types of noise, including parties and social gatherings or events, which result in a disturbance of the peace and quiet enjoyment of the community.
The citizens of Mesa who were concerned with noise nuisances worked with the city council to create a new ordinance that was more useful to the community. This ordinance supported neighbor-to-neighbor action, whereby an offender would have to turn down their music if a neighbor or affected party asked them to do so. If the citizen didn’t feel comfortable doing so, they could call the police department and ask that an office come assess the situation. Muncie’s current ordinance does not give support to the local residents.
The residents of Mesa worked with the local government for a few years to enact this new ordinance. While it did not cost money, the residents spent much time performing neighbor-to-neighbor education and meeting with the city council.
Additional websites of interest
Manual on Organizing around Noise Reduction: http://www.noisefree.org/howtofightnoisemanual.pdf