OAKLAND — There was little sound or fury Tuesday night when the Oakland Town Council gave final approval to an ordinance that creates stiff penalties for residents responsible for what the council has defined as “unnecessary noise.”

After weeks of discussion, the ordinance passed by a 4-1 vote with Councilor Mark Fisher dissenting.

Fisher made no comment Tuesday, but said during discussion on Dec. 10 that while he believes the issue of noise in Oakland should be addressed, he does not believe the council has the constitutional authority to decide which activities are exempt.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said he has encountered no public opposition in the two weeks since the council approved publicly posting a draft of the ordinance.

The ordinance, which went into effect immediately, forbids any person to annoy others intentionally or recklessly by making “loud and unreasonable noises” after having been ordered by law enforcement to stop.

It gives Oakland police discretion to decide what constitutes a violation, setting fines at $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, $500 for a third offense and $1,000 for a fourth and all subsequent offenses.

Earlier this month, the council gave preliminary approval to the ordinance after residents complained to the town that a logging operation on McGrath Pond Road was waking them as early as 3 a.m.

The ordinance bans a host of noise-generating activities between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and certain noises at all hours of the day.

The ordinance includes but is not limited to noise created by radios and other electronic equipment, the loading and unloading of commercial vehicles between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., timber harvesting between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and automobile noise at any time caused by spinning tires on dry pavement and modified exhaust systems.

As local towns and cities grapple with how to handle complaints about fireworks since their legalization in 2012, it also bans unnecessary noise caused by fireworks between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The ordinance has numerous exemptions, including for government activities, utility companies, domestic power equipment such as chain saws when operated during daylight hours, firearms, trains, plows and other snow-removing equipment, farming activities, solid-waste collection and generators during power outages or weekly maintenance periods not to exceed 30 minutes.


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