on May 11, 2017 by test_editor in Archive_2017, May, Print Articles, Comments Off on May 11, 2017: Noise Bylaw Review; Wind chimes or construction, noise is noise.

May 11, 2017: Noise Bylaw Review; Wind chimes or construction, noise is noise.

May 11, 2017: Noise Bylaw Review;
Wind chimes or construction, noise is noise.

By Hintonburg Community Association.

Are you irritated by a neighbour’s wind chimes? Who would have thought this would be an issue for a City wide Noise By-Law review? This was one of 9 noise issues By-Law Services was directed to review by City Council. They were asked bring forward any suggestions for solutions to these frequent issues. Three public meetings and an on-line response form provided feedback.

The wind chimes issue generated no discussion at the meeting held April 26 at the McNabb Recreation Centre. However a few of the other issues under review generated a lot of discussion and the meeting which had been scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. ran until after 9 p.m.

Noise can destroy quality of life. The approximately 50 people who came out to meeting that night were very vocal about how noise was affecting their lives. The City says there are about 10,000 service requests for noise annually, an average of just over 25 complaints every day.

The scope of the present review was limited to concerns identified by City Council in June 2015. Under review is noise from:

  • Low Frequency Bass and Vibration;
  • Construction Noise;
  • Exemption Process (Construction and Events);
  • Waste Removal/Lifting Equipment; Snow Removal;
  • Car Alarms;
  • Motorcycles;
  • Wind Chimes;
  • Noise concerns with residents backing onto non-residential uses.

A few of these issues dominated the meeting.

Exemption Process (Special Events):
Presently the Ward Councillor must approve these exemptions. Staff are recommending that exemptions be automatically granted with a time of 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Councillor would retain the ability to place additional restrictions on an event if noise issues emerged. This issue dominated the discussion for the evening. Residents felt that their Ward Councillor was the only one helping them deal with noise from special events and prohibiting later hours. By-passing the Councillor’s approval was not acceptable to those present.

Staff also talked about allowing a lower decibel reading 55 dB(A) rather than 65 dB(A) and they provided a demonstration as to what those levels sounded like. Most people in the room asked for no more than 55 dB(A) and that all noise should end at 11 p.m. all nights. Those close to special events are most affected and if there are many special events at a particular location those neighbours can be severely affected.

Low Frequency Bass and Vibration:
The existing noise meters the City uses do not pick up the bass and the vibrations. Rather than buy a lot of very expensive noise meters and train By-Law Staff to measure and calculate this noise they are recommending adding wording to the by-law “any low frequency sound which may be heard or felt in the form of vibrations and which may be considered likely to disturb the inhabitants of the City”. Staff feel this would be adequate to be able to charge without a noise meter reading for this type of noise.

Construction Noise:
There has been a lot of construction activity in Kitchissippi and a lot of complaints. Construction on infill developments can only occur from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Infill develpments would be on 1 lot or on some property where lots have been consolidated. Municipal projects are exempt and sometimes exemptions are given to other projects. At this time staff are only recommending that the allowed noise level be decreased to be in line with the new Ministry of the Environment regulations – therefore a maximum of 85 dB(A) rather than the old maximum of 90 dB(A) for a period of no more than 8 hours-a-day.

For more information or to send your comments in http://ottawa.ca/en/noise-law-no-2004-253/review-city-ottawas-noise-law .

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