By Matt Fossen
Ithaca is set to ideally have a newly refurbished and amended noise ordinance by “mid-winter,” according to alderperson Seph Murtagh from the 2nd ward of the Ithaca City Common Council. The news comes following the recent hiring of Eric M. Zwerling to consult the city in devising a more improved ordinance.
Zwerling, currently the head of Rutgers University’s Noise Technical Assistance Center, is also president of The Noise Consultancy LLC, and has been in meetings with citizens, public and city staff, council members, and the mayor since October in attempt to assess the original ordinance and subsequently make suggestions and improvements.
The conversations so far have stipulated that noise conflicts are most prevalent around commercial properties, construction zones, sports stadiums -and even more largely- the surrounding neighborhoods. The problem is that according to the offices of the chief of police and city prosecutor that the current standards are too vague, placing too many subjective judgments on the officers responding to complaints. As of now, drafts for the latest ordinance would place a great emphasis on addressing nuisances through clearly defined decibel standards with violation parameters and thresholds. With the potential renovations will come investments in proper sound equipment and additional training for officers, issues that will also be sorted out by the common council in coming months.