By Tom Shevlin
NEWPORT – City Council members are poised to take a hard stand against the issue of noise next week as they consider whether to reduce the city's allowable decibel levels in residential neighborhoods.
According to a resolution scheduled to appear on the Wednesday, Sept. 12 meeting, there has been a rise in the number of nuisance properties in the city's residential neighborhoods.
The noise, which has resulted in repeated calls for service to the Newport Police Department and the Zoning Office, stem from what the city defines as "disorderly houses."
According to Section 8.12.100, of the city's zoning code, "no person shall keep a disorderly house or place of public resort whereby the peace, comfort, or decency of a neighbor is habitually disturbed; or, being the owner of or in control of such premises to intentionally permit them to be so used."
The current maximum permissible sound levels permitted in Residential Zones and Noise Sensitive Areas is 65 dbs during the hours of 7 a.m. and 9:59 p.m., after which time it is reduced to 55 dbs until 6:59 a.m.
Councilors are proposing reducing the maximum decibel level to 55 dbs between the hours of 8:59 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
According to the resolution, which was sponsored by Mayor Henry F. Winthrop, and councilors Charles Y. Duncan, Kathryn E. Leonard, Naomi Neville, and Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, reducing the maximum allowable noise level would "greatly contribute to our residents' peaceful enjoyment of their homes.
If the resolution passes, the city administration is expected to be asked to draf the appropriate ordinance amendments and report back for consideration at the council's Sept.26 meeting.