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County Executive Leopold Submits Noise Ordinance to County Council

Annapolis, MD (April 16, 2007) - Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold is submitting legislation to the County Council tonight that would establish an enhanced noise control law in Anne Arundel County. This bill will supplement an existing County noise ordinance by adopting criteria from State regulations.

"As our County becomes increasingly urban, unwanted noise that is detrimental to personal health becomes more of an increasing problem," said County Executive Leopold. "This comprehensive noise ordinance will address this sensitive, quality-of-life nuisance problem."

The noise control law would: define certain terms, prohibit a person form exceeding certain noise levels; set standards for measurement of noise levels; establish procedures for requesting and obtaining variances for the noise level standards; and provide for the enforcement of noise-related violations.

"The change to the County's noise ordinance will enhance the Police Department's ability to respond to and resolve complaints that often have a negative effect on the quality of life for the citizens of the County," said County Police Chief James Teare.

The County Executive is currently utilizing legislation he sponsored in 2006, which requires the State to have sound level meters available to counties that request them. The County received the noise meter on loan in February. However, Mr. Leopold will be setting aside money in the FY08 budget to purchase a noise meter exclusively for the County’s use if and when the County Council passes the ordinance.

Currently, the County ordinance addresses certain noise restrictions in residential areas, with an emphasis on amplified music. The ordinance prohibits any person from operating a radio or similar sound device, as well as a machine, tool or similar device in a residential district where the sound generated by the device can be heard at a distance of 50 feet.

"This is a step we can all appreciate," said County Health Officer Frances Phillips. "Excessive noise is a type of environmental pollution which may cause health effects in children and adults. Exposure to loud noise can result in permanent or short-term hearing loss, sleep disturbances, emotional stress and contribute to preventable accidents. Studies have linked high noise levels to high blood pressure, ulcers and premature births. It is not surprising that the word 'noise' comes from the Latin word for "nausea," Ms. Phillips added.


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