Published on: 04/08/07 / www.ajc.com
Noise: Milton has received complaints from people about noise, especially from the sound system and the roar of the crowd at the high school stadium. The City Council is considering an ordinance that would cap the volume and regulate when and where people can be noisy.
In its first draft of the ordinance, the city staff proposed allowing the police to use a common sense, albeit court-tested, formula for determining if a neighbor or event is unduly loud. However, some residents, businesses and council members were uneasy with the subjectivity involved.
So Milton is now considering noise limits by decibel, and that would allow the police to use a decibel-measuring device to calculate whether the noise is excessive. Using an ordinance in Washington as a model, the city staff devised a table that sets limits by land use. For example, the noise limits are lower in residential areas than in commercial, but it also calculates the effect that commercial noise has on residential areas.
As proposed, the limit is 65 decibels in a residential area — or the level of normal conversation. In a commercial area, the limit is 70 decibels. The limits apply from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. At night the level is reduced by five decibels.
There are exceptions for emergency vehicles, aircraft, bells and chimes operating for less than five minutes, and officially sanctioned parades. It caps noise from football games at 75 decibels.
Penalties include a $1,000 fine, and 30 days in jail.
Signs: The City Council will tweak limits on placement, dimensions, and number of signs in commercial areas. There will be discussion about whether the sign ordinance should cover the city with one set of rules or whether certain areas, such as Ga. 9 commercial, should have more leeway.
• WHO'S AFFECTED: The noise ordinance will affect the 20,000 residents of Milton, although it has particular interest for the folks within shouting distance of the Milton High School athletics stadium. The amendments to the sign ordinance will directly affect business owners in the Ga. 9 corridor, and indirectly affect members of the public who rely on the signs or have an opinion about the way they look.