After a long public process, the Wrangell Assembly approved a set of ordinances regarding noise nuisance.
Ninety-five decibels is the new threshold for how loud is too loud, at least during daytime hours of 7AM to 8PM. That sounds like a lawnmower or food blender. Noise at that decibel can cause hearing damage with prolonged exposure.
At night, that standard is reduced to 60 decibels, which sounds like a lively conversation.
If you’re hearing that rate of noise at your property line, then the police should be able to issue a warning or fine to the noisemaker.
The assembly actually relaxed the code in a number ways, saying Wrangell is a community of handymen. And noise is part of routine maintenance to individuals’ property and vehicles.
The new code has exemptions for most personal work: using power tools, snow removal, construction and working on a boat. There is no decibel guidelines for these activities from 7AM to 8PM.
Assembly Member Patti Gilbert said at a previous meeting that the only prohibited personal activity she could think of would be playing music.
Wrangellites can also apply for special permits if they anticipate their personal work is necessary but would break code. Assembly Member David Powell suggested folks that may be playing catch up during the long days of summer be eligible for these permits.
The changes make noise complaints more enforceable. Noise complaints had been addressed through snail mail. The changes set a fee schedule, so police can issue fines as needed. The first noise offense would result in a $50 fine, then a $75 fine, a $150 fine and then a court appearance with a $300 to $500 fine.