At the public board meeting on Monday, Port Jefferson trustees discussed impending changes to the village’s noise code. Residents at the meeting came in on both sides of the issue, some complaining that the new code would goes to far to limit noise in the village, while others fully supported the changes.
An attorney for Northville Corporation asked the board to consider delaying its vote on the new noise code being considered for approval. Northville has a facility that transfers gasoline and heating oil shipped in from barges in Port Jefferson Harbor and its pumps generate noise that the company fears might cause a problem under the new code.
Currently code allows noise up to 75 decibels between 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. sustained for more than five minutes. All other times the acceptable noise level is 95 decibels.
The new code looks to lower the noise level to 50 decibels on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and weekdays between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. At all other times the code would allow noise levels up to 65 decibels.
Updated: Noise levels are from the property line.
According to an Environmental Protection Agency chart rainfall is around 50 decibels, normal conversation is about 60 decibels and a garbage truck measures around 100 decibels.
Reza Ebrahimi, the attorney representing Northville at the public meeting, said that the company is concerned that the way the law is rewritten it will be out of compliance. Calling their marine facility “critical to the county” the attorney said that their pumps generate “some amount of noise.”
Trustee Larry LaPointe said that to his knowledge the noise from the Northville facility has never measured.
“It would be helpful if when the barge came in, it could be measured,” he said.
Ebrahimi proposed that the village make one more exception to those already in the new code to allow for the marine facility.
“We’re asking law be tweaked a little bit and vote be delayed,” he said.
The company agreed to have village code chief Wally Tomaszewski measure the noise level while a barge was offloading.
Putting exceptions into the noise code is not unusual.
According to LaPointe the village was “very, very careful to make a whole series of exceptions.” Some examples include permitted fireworks and outdoor dining areas.
The village is not planning to spot-check noise to write tickets.
Mayor Margot Garant said that somebody still has to complain before a code officer is sent to a location to measure the noise.
If it exceeds village code, the officer will speak to the offender and ask them to turn down the volume of noise until it is within acceptable levels. The officer will return later to take another reading. If the noise level exceeds the code again, an appearance ticket will be issued.
LaPointe said that the noise level in the village on a busy night can be excessive at times, especially over the weekend.
“It’s like Mardi Gras in the streets,” he said.
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