July 26, 2016
The Johns Creek City Council amended its Nuisance Ordinance establishing new standards for noise limits and procedures for enforcement at its regular meeting Monday, July 25.
“The new noise provisions of the Nuisance Ordinance balance the desire by residents to be able to quietly and peacefully enjoy their homes without undue noise disruption of their daily lives,” said Mayor Mike Bodker. “Our community wants our businesses to successfully operate while limiting noise emanating from the inside of their businesses.”
The new regulations use a “plainly audible” standard to determine whether amplified sound from an entertainment venue is violating the ordinance. According to the plainly audible standard, a violation occurs when listener with normal hearing can understand speech, whether the voice is normal or raised, and whether the listener can distinguish repetitive bass sounds and musical rhythms without the aid of a listening device at a receiving residential property.
A police or code enforcement officer may elect to use a sound meter to confirm whether noise has exceeded sound levels permitted during specific times of the day.
The issue was prompted by complaints from residents who live near 37 Main, which is a 17,000-square-foot, 900-seat restaurant, bar and music venue that opened in May 2014 in an adjoining commercial center. There have been longstanding complaints from homeowners in the Medlock Bridge neighborhood about noise during concerts. More specifically, residents have stated that the music is so loud at times that they can hear the lyrics or the bass from their property.
The new law also prohibits operation of power equipment for landscaping and yard maintenance equipment on residential between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., not before 8 a.m. on Saturdays, and not before10 a.m. Sundays. For non-residential properties, excluding golf courses, the same hours apply within 250 feet of a residential property.
Exemptions to the ordinance include parades, athletic events, public assemblies, special outdoor events, public safety vehicles, emergency signaling devices, or public safety personnel alerting persons of an emergency.
The noise regulations were drafted after several meetings by a Stakeholders Committee of residents and business interests.
Violations carry a minimum $250 fine for a second offense within any 12 month rolling period; a minimum $500 for a third violation within a 12-month rolling period; and a minimum $1,000 fine for subsequent offense within a 12-month rolling period. Failure to comply with instructions to turn down the music could result in a disorderly conduct charge.
The ordinance approved by the City Council can be viewed here