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Ordinance on noise considered
Board to discuss measure at meeting
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The Dawson County commission is considering an ordinance that would limit excessive noise.


Robbie Irvin, a county code enforcement officer, presented the proposal to the board during Thursday’s work session.


He said the measure was not designed to stop noise in the county, but would limit sound with adverse affects on the health, safety and welfare of residents.


“In a growing county there are many noises,” Irvin said. “Some are pleasant sounds, while others may be distracting and uncomfortable.”


Commissioners plan to revisit the matter during a Nov. 24 work session.


If commissioners approve the draft of the ordinance, it would then be aired in two public hearings.


Irvin said Thursday that the county has lost buffered space as the population density has risen. As a result, noise is spilling over and triggering complaints.


The proposal would place time, distance and duration limits on noise, such as continuous sounding of motor vehicle horns or other signaling devices.


It would restrict sound from heavy equipment or radios and loudspeakers between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. within 1,500 feet of residential or noise-sensitive areas.


In addition, Irvin said sound from radios, TVs or similar devices could not be audible to anyone other than the player or operator on public right of way.


The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office would be the primary enforcer of the ordinance, since most noise complaints come at night, said Sheriff’s Major Greg Rowan.


Irvin said the measure would “provide county enforcement personnel with the tools necessary to aid those whose quality of life has been impacted by noise pollution.”


Added Rowan: “A lot of this is about apprehending the violators.”


The ordinance is based on similar laws in Athens-Clarke County, Newnan and Atlanta.


“Most noise ordinances follow the basic model,” said County Attorney Joey Homans.


Mike Berg, commission chairman, said he believes the proposal would assure residents that government is watching out for them without being over-restrictive.


“The ordinance is very middle-of-the-road and not extremely specific, and it allows the sheriff’s office to make a formal issue about the noise,” Berg said.


Irvin said the proposal allows people to continue to enjoy their hobbies, outdoor interests, and get-togethers while providing some relief to those who may suffer from unwanted noise.


“It is not the county’s intent to prohibit anyone from reasonably enjoying their land, but to ask folks to be courteous to their neighbors,” he said.