The ordinance, based on the same criteria used in the noise ordinance for the city of Milton, Ga., underwent a first reading during the council’s Feb. 11 meeting.
A second reading is planned for the council’s Feb. 25 meeting at 7 p.m. The council is expected to approve the ordinance following this reading.
Council member G. Larry Black said the ordinance would allow certain levels for residential and commercial districts during the various times of a given day.
“The ordinance reads that the maximum permissible sound levels for residential areas is 65 decibels and 70 decibels for commercial,” Black said. “It also reads that maximum sound levels can be reduced or increased depending on the time of day or night.”
Between 10 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., the noise levels shall be reduced by 5 decibels for property within residential districts, except for noise from electrical substations and existing stationary equipment used in conveyance of water by a utility, the ordinance reads.
Decibel levels can be increased between 7:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. however, but only to a certain extent and only for a certain amount of time.
“There can be a 5-decibel increase for a total of 15 minutes in any one-hour period, a 10-decibel increase for a total of five minutes in any one-hour period, or a 15-decibel increase for a total of 1.5 minutes in any one-hour period,” Black said.
The city doesn’t currently own a decibel meter-measuring device, but Black said it would be something the city would have to consider.
“I’ve been told that Catoosa County has one that we might could use if needed,” Black said. “Initially our thoughts were that it might be better to borrow one before investing. But I spoke with mayor (Joe) Barger about it, and he seems to think that it would be a good idea for us to go ahead and look into purchasing one of our own.”
Although noise-related issues haven’t been a major problem in the past, Black said there was an issue near a subdivision along Ga. 2 (Battlefield Parkway) recently that prompted movement towards an ordinance.
“It is my understanding that the ordinance was drafted due to complaints of truckloads of dirt into Battlewood Estates on off Battlefield Parkway during late-night, early-morning hours,” Black said. “The complaint was that the trucks of dirt were coming through around 1 a.m. in the morning. It’s just a good idea to have an ordinance in place to prevent things like this from happening in the future.”
Ringgold police will be in charge of enforcing the ordinance, if it is adopted following the second reading on Feb. 25.
“We haven’t had a lot of notable problems related to noise, but it’s good to have such regulations in place,” police chief Dan Bilbrey said. “The ordinance would prevent things like someone doing maintenance on a house really late at night. … Hopefully the ordinance will solve the issue.”