New Lawrenceburg Noise Ordinance Strikes Balance Between Downtown Bars, Sleepers
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – As hip hop artist Lil’ Jon so eloquently put it, “Turn down for what?”
“So you don’t get a fine” would be the answer.
The Lawrenceburg City Council unanimously approved a revision to the city’s noise ordinance on September 5. Some downtown residents had made complaints to city officials with some downtown bars having loud music playing late into the night.
The city’s former noise ordinance used to require noise to be under a certain decibel level between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. However, the ordinance was not clear on from where a noise level reading should be taken. There have also been questions about the accuracy of noise level reading equipment.
The new ordinance does not limit noise to a certain decibel level, but only prohibits “unreasonable noise,” allowing for a wider interpretation of when noise may be too loud and disruptive.
“The biggest concern is to make our citizens safe from unreasonable noise, but also to allow our businesses and entertainment ventures to be successful. I think we accomplished both here,” said Lawrenceburg City Attorney Del Weldon.
Loud music as well as automobiles, lawnmowers, construction equipment, animals, fireworks and any other noisemakers are subject to the noise restrictions.
Businesses with bands or music are permitted to have loud noise from 5:00 p.m. until midnight on Fridays and 1:00 p.m. until midnight on Saturdays. There are also special exception hours for holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve/Day, and Independence Day.
Other exceptions allow for snow and ice removal equipment, emergency generators, church bells, and any government or city-sanctioned activity. Lawrenceburg Speedway, Lawrenceburg Motorcycle Speedway, and the Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds may still operate within their own regulations.
Businesses and event organizers may also seek exception permits from the city.
The ordinance will be enforced by Lawrenceburg Police Department, the city’s code enforcement department, and the mayor or his/her chosen designee. A violation could net a $250 fine on the first offense, $500 on the second infraction, and $1,000 for a third violation.
Weldon said he took council members’ concerns, citizen comments, and noise ordinances from other Indiana cities in crafting the ordinance.