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Loud noise ordinance needs more work, councilors say

Decibel levels
080219-police lights-AdobeStock_131990697
Police enforce noise ordinances (stock photo)


City Council Tuesday night wanted more work done on a proposed ordinance that makes it illegal for a motor vehicle’s engine or exhaust system to be heard from 300 feet.

Most councilors were concerned that the 300-foot threshold could not be enforced.

“I just don’t want us to pass another ordinance that we aren’t going to enforce or prosecute,” Council Tim Waters said.

City officials said they would rework the ordinance and bring it back for another review.

The 300-foot threshold was picked because it was easy for most people to conceptualize, Longmont Master Police Officer David Kennedy told councilors. “It’s something most people can visualize … it’s basically a football field,” Kennedy said.

Business owners and residents have persistently complained about loud automobile noises on Longmont streets, prompting Longmont Public Safety to come up with a new measurement of noise, officials said.

Longmont prohibits unreasonable noises heard 25 feet away if it measures at a certain decibel level. The decibel level thresholds often hinge on the time of day and local zoning, Kennedy said.

Longmont Police do not have the proper equipment to measure vehicle noises, Kennedy added. 

The ordinance would allow officers to issue a citation if they can hear a vehicle’s engine or exhaust system from 300 feet away, he said. 

Councilor Aren Rodriguez said consistent enforcement of the proposed ordinance is still questionable. “I think we have passed enough ordinances that are not enforced regularly,” Rodriguez said.