Ordinance, amendment to go to hearing

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PROSPECT — Months after discovering the town’s noise ordinance wasn’t enforceable, officials took a step closer to establishing one that is.

The Town Council last week approved sending the ordinance for providing the reduction or elimination of excessive noise to a hearing. The date for the hearing hadn’t been set as of press time, but it’s expected to be held during the council’s second meeting in February.

The noise ordinance had been on the books since it was adopted in 1987. Last year, the town found out that the ordinance had never been filed with and approved by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which is the final step to make the noise ordinance enforceable because it relied on scientific measurements like decibel readings.

The issue came to the town’s attention over last summer after a resident filed a noise complaint against Senor Pancho’s, a Mexican restaurant on Cheshire Road, saying loud noise was coming from the restaurant past the curfew set in the ordinance.

Town Council Chairman Jeff Slapikas said the ordinance, which is basically the same as the one adopted in 1987, has now been approved as a rough draft by the DEEP. It needs to be approved by the town and sent back to the DEEP for final approval before the town can enforce it, he said.

Under the ordinance, businesses and residences must keep sound at 55 decibels or less, measured at the edge of the property, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. through 8 p.m. on Sunday. At all other times, the sound must be at 45 decibels or less.

Under the ordinance, the town can fine people $150 for each violation.

The council is also seeking an amendment to the ordinance that prohibits blocking intersections. Officials want to add the northbound lane of Waterbury Road and the driveway for the Prospect Fire Department, 26 New Haven Road, to the ordinance. Drivers who block intersections stated in the ordinance are subject to a fine.

If the ordinance, which will be taken up at the same hearing with the noise ordinance, is approved, the state will paint the white lines on the road indicating the intersection shouldn’t be blocked, Slapikas said.