Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

July 1, 2014

Council debates noise ordinance

Prayer before meetings also discussed

EFFINGHAM — Several lively debates marked a lengthy Effingham City Council meeting Tuesday night. Topics ranging from prayer before city council meetings, a donation of funds to the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum and the implementation of a noise ordinance were contentiously debated by city administration.

The proposed ordinance would limit noise throughout the city after 10 p.m. A fine, ranging from $100 to $500, could be levied through court proceedings.

Currently, when a noise complaint is made, officers can only work as a mediator between residents and businesses in the community. Officers have made some arrests based on disturbance of peace, but officers would be assisted by a clear ordinance

Commissioners heard from Effingham Police Chief Mike Schutzbach that his officers would be greatly assisted by the adoption of a noise ordinance, a type of law the city has never had. Since 2010, 599 noise complaints have been called into EPD.

“Right now when we get a call, our hands our tied,” said Schutzbach.

The proposed ordinance would limit noise throughout the city after 10 p.m. A fine, ranging from $100 to $500, could be levied through court proceedings.

Currently, when a noise complaint is made, officers can only work as a mediator between residents and businesses in the community. Officers have made some arrests based on disturbance of peace, but officers would be assisted by a clear ordinance.

Wanda Pitcher, owner of Tuscan Hills Winery, spoke to the council about her displeasure with the proposed ordinance, stating that “noise is subjective.”

Pitcher said people could perceive mowing at 5 a.m., or revving of motorcycles outside a bar at 2 a.m., as excessive noise. She added that when Tuscan Hills Winery opened, she followed the directive of the neighboring community to limit bands past 10 p.m.

“Personally, I believe there should be more neighborhood arbitration,” said Pitcher. “This would open Pandora's Box about what noise is.”

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