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Lindenhurst wants to change its generic noise ordinance to help keep the peace

Lindenhurst Mayor Mike Lavorata with a noise dosimeter,

Lindenhurst Mayor Mike Lavorata with a noise dosimeter, which village officials plan to use to help enforce a proposed new noise ordinance. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Lindenhurst Village is looking for more peace and quiet and is seeking it through a proposed expanded noise ordinance that would regulate more than a dozen types of sounds.

Village officials would replace what Mayor Mike Lavorata called a ”really, really generic” noise law currently on the books. Village attorney Gerard Glass described the new ordinance as a “major change” that would bring the village’s code “more in line with modern standards.”

The current law has been on the books since 1993 and is based on “unreasonable noise,” but other than prohibiting some sounds, such as the noises of radios, animals and construction during particular time frames, offers no specifics. The proposed ordinance regulates 16 specific types of sounds, ranging from air conditioning to squealing tires and vehicle repair.  

Lavorata said the village is aiming to address “sounds that are just really loud and obnoxious,” such as businesses doing work late at night or residents blasting music.

“It doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens enough where you get a complaint and now you’ve got a situation where no one can have any quality of life because of a certain level of noise,” the mayor said. “The problem is how to quantify where that measurement is, and that’s where I’ve struggled.”

The proposed legislation includes several tables of decibel levels, including ones for duration of work at businesses and for continuous and impulsive sounds “which pose an immediate threat to health and welfare.”

But the village is still tweaking those numbers. Lavorata, an engineer at Underwriters Laboratories in Melville, has been using a noise dosimeter to try to figure out decibel levels under varying conditions.

“Generally 85 to 90 decibels is considered loud and obnoxious,” he said.

At 90 decibels, noise is the equivalent to the sound of a lawnmower or power tools. Lavorata said 100 decibels is akin to an airplane flying overhead and coming in for a landing.

The village will need to buy dosimeters for code enforcement officers, who will be trained on how to take environmental factors, such as temperature and wind, into account. Lavorata said he expects to buy two meters at a cost of between $2,200 and $3,000 each.

At a recent hearing on the proposed ordinance, resident Denis Garbo questioned how effective the ordinance would be when there are violations at late hours when code enforcement officers are not working.

“Ordinances are only as valuable as the ability to enforce them,” Garbo said. “A lot of these souped-up cars, when they start up it’s like an explosion . . . sometimes at two o’clock in the morning they start these things up and it sounds like it’s in your room.”

Glass conceded that such situations are “difficult to manage.” 

The village is still accepting feedback from residents. In the meantime, Lavorata said he will continue to take decibel readings.

“I want to make sure we fine-tune all the parameters so that we are as accurate as we can be,” he said.

PROPOSED REGULATION AREAS

Air-conditioning and air-handling devices

Animals and birds

Commercial, business and industrial operations

Construction

Emergency warning devices

Loading and unloading

Modification of noise-control devices

Motor vehicle maximum sound levels

Motorboats

Noise-sensitive zones

Places of public entertainment

Sound reproduction devices

Sound signal devices

Squealing tires

Street sales

Vehicle or motorboat repairs and testing

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