Dawson County residents must keep “quiet hours at night” thanks to a new law that took effect last week.
The Dawson County commission voted 3-1 on May 7 to limit excessive noise between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Loudspeakers and sound amplifiers, construction and demolition, powered motor vehicles, emergency signaling devices and commercial garbage collection, among others, are limited to the hours between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Exemptions include emergency utility work and emergency government signaling devices, school related functions, agricultural operations, licensed kennels and parking lot commercial/industrial vacuum trucks.
District 3 Commissioner Mike Connor opposed the measure, arguing in favor of including some daytime restrictions.
The board asked the county code enforcement office to draft a noise control ordinance late last year after several complaints involving all-terrain vehicles.
Several residents had also cited barking dogs, loud neighbors, unmuffled ATVS and a band that plays at a church off Ga. 400.
Violations will be handled by the new Dawson County Marshal position and the sheriff’s office.
In its decision, the board opted for an earlier version of the measure, one with no daytime restrictions.
That upset Connor, who said the county called a third public hearing only after significant changes were made to the initial proposal and the public was led to believe the revised ordinance would be discussed.
County Attorney Joey Homans disagreed, saying he was fine with procedure.
Commissioners Gary Pichon and James Swafford said they made a mistake in April when they agreed to consider a revised version, which Pichon described as the most restrictive noise control ordinance he had seen for a county of Dawson’s size.
Pichon said Dawson County’s rural tapestry, with pockets of growth, is not suited for such a restrictive ordinance.
Some residents and business owners said restrictions on noise during daytime hours would hinder their ability to operate or perform necessary maintenance, like cut grass or repair pipes.
“I know I have to load equipment before 7 a.m.,” said Jackie Townley, owner of Townley Construction. “I’m not here to complain. I just need to make a living.”
Jane Graves, president of the Dawson County Homeowners Association, was part of a group of residents from across the county who worked with county officials on the noise ordinance.
She suggested the ordinance match the county’s future land-use maps to address the issues of more and less populated areas, including industrial and commercial tracts.
“As our population continues to grow, it becomes more and more important that each of us can continue to peacefully enjoy our own properties whether we live in an apartment or on thousands of acres,” Graves said.