NAUGATUCK — A neighbor starts mowing his lawn at 6 a.m. on the weekend.
The woman down the street plays loud music on her deck past midnight. Or teenagers in the neighborhood play basketball at all hours of the night.
What can a neighbor do when their plea to keep the noise down falls on deaf ears? That is what one man has asked borough officials who are now, more than a year later, looking into his request.
Resident Manuel Santos has asked borough leaders to consider whether Naugatuck needs a new or updated noise ordinance — something with a little more breadth and teeth. Last week, Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess appointed a noise ordinance subcommittee to study the issue and possibly recommend changes to current law.
“We will look to see if what we have in place already needs to be changed in any way and if so, move forward with recommendations,” said Burgess Rocky Vitale, who will chair the subcommittee. “When a resident asks for something to be reviewed, the least we can do is review it.”
Vitale said he recently contacted Santos and confirmed that he is still interested in the borough exploring this issue. The current ordinance states, “no person shall utter any loud and indecent or loud and obscene language, or make any noise by outcry, or boisterous singing or shouting, or by blowing any horns, or using any megaphone, loudspeaker, or amplifier, whether electronically operated or otherwise, within any street or public place or adjoining the same, nor within hearing distance of any church or public meeting.”
Santos, who said he’s a police officer in another community, told officials he has investigated noise ordinances in other communities. He gave local leaders a proposed ordinance in June 2015.
It states the purpose is to recognize “people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive sound and vibration that may jeopardize their health or safety or welfare or degrade the quality of life. This chapter is enacted to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for the citizens of the Borough of Naugatuck through the reasonable reduction, control and prevention of noise.”
He said he has long had issues with a neighbor, who runs his lawn mower between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. He said discussions with his neighbor have not led to changes.
His proposal defines a range from ambient noise to muffler sounds and domestic power equipment. It describes noise level measurement procedures in detail and states procedures for bringing violators into compliance. It states the penalty for violations shall be $100, with interest, and spells out an appeals process.
Vitale will serve on the subcommittee with fellow Burgess Don Wisniewski, attorney Tim Fitzpatrick, Town Planner and Zoning Enforcement Officer Sue Goggin and a Naugatuck police officer.
Vitale said he is unsure of whether the subcommittee will endorse all or any of Santos’ recommendations.
“We’ll take a close look before deciding where to go,” he said.