Planning board discusses noise ordinance for Macon
Two residents shared their horror story experiences dealing with nuisance neighbors during a Dec. 18 Macon County Planning Board meeting.
The board is considering drafting a noise ordinance to address these residents’ complaints about loud music and gunshots coming from their neighbors’ homes. Donna Majerus and James Wright are frustrated because without a noise ordinance in place, they have no recourse other than calling law enforcement. An officer can come out and ask the neighbor to turn down the music, but the situation usually gets worse once the officer leaves, according to Majerus and Wright.
“Every time I file a police report, a deputy comes 20 minutes later because I live so far out and once they leave the property, they (the neighbors) come to the property line and fire shotguns,” Wright said.
Majerus has been attending planning board meetings for several months trying to get the board to draft an ordinance. In September, she brought the board a petition with 200 signatures from residents supporting the passage of some kind of noise ordinance.
She said she has a neighbor who blasts loud music at all hours of the night to intentionally disturb her sleep.
“My neighbor knows officers can’t do anything because there is no ordinance,” she said. “Please don’t wait forever. He is on supervised probation so the next time the police come, he will go to jail.”
Matt Mason, Macon County planning director, handed board members a noise ordinance drafted by County Attorney Chester Jones for Clay County. He said the ordinance was never passed but would be a good starting point to figuring out what Macon’s noise ordinance should look like.
Mason said the planning board was tasked by the board of commissioners to produce an ordinance that would solve the problems being discussed today but not one that would necessarily solve “every day noises,” including barking dogs.
“The consensus of our board was that we’re not looking for a cure-all but noises going on considered malicious in nature and harmful for a reasonable person’s peace and quiet,” said Commissioner Jim Tate.
Board members said they would like to take the Clay County draft home and bring proposed changes back to the next board meeting in January.
“I don’t think dogs will be part of the issue as is mentioned in the Clay County ordinance,” Mason said.
The board’s next meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on Jan. 13 at the Macon County Human Services building located at 1830 Lakeside Drive in Franklin.
County ordinance comparisons
• Haywood County — Noise Control Ordinance passed July 7, 1981, to prohibit loud, disturbing noise that disrupts, injures, or endangers reasonable persons.
• Swain County — Ordinance passed Nov. 14, 1996, to regulate the production or emission of noises or amplified speech, music, or other sounds that tend to annoy, disturb or frighten the county’s citizens.
• Jackson County — A noise ordinance to regulate loud, disturbing noise that disrupts, injures, or endangers reasonable persons was passed Dec. 2, 1991. Commissioners discussed amending the ordinance to address barking dogs but now it is “permanently tabled,” according to planning director Gerald Green.
• Macon County — No noise ordinance