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Emmitsburg considers adopting noise and nuisance ordinance

Sarah Harrington

(10/24) The board of commissioners held a discussion about the consideration of a noise and nuisance ordinance at the October 19 town meeting.

The new proposed ordinance states that if a resident receives three noise/ nuisance complaints, they will receive a violation notice informing them that there will be forthcoming precautions.

Town manager Dave Haller informed the board that this is something he has been involved with for six years now. According to Haller and the Mayor, the town needs something to help manage the noise. The ordinance is directed towards residences in town and not businesses at this time.

Mayor Briggs has spoken with Mount St. Mary’s University and Emmitsburg Police about working together to get something launched. Mayor Briggs stated that the main goal of the ordinance is to maintain a safe town.

Several residence owners were invited to attend the October 19th town meeting to discuss the ordinance and the possible adoption of it. TJ Burns, a local resident and landlord, addressed the board expressing his concern about the new ordinance. Burns is concerned that the ordinance is poorly written and can be misinterpreted.

The current proposed ordinance does not clarify what warrants the police to be called, or if a violation will be written up each time an officer is called to a residence.

Susan Glass, a local Landlord and business owner, agreed that the ordinance was not clearly defined and could be misinterpreted. Glass also pointed out that the ordinance does not clarify that it is only directed towards residences and not businesses. Both Burns and Glass posed the question, "What is considered a noise or nuisance violation?"

It was clarified that a violation is not written up every time an officer is called. The officer who reports to the call will be the one to determine if it does meet the noise and nuisance violation, if the officer deems it reportable, then a violation report will be written.

Currently, the ordinance that is written does not clarify how residents will be notified about the violations. The notification would be in written form, according to Haller, but that is currently not in the ordinance.

Due to the points that were addressed at the meeting, the consensus of the board was that the ordinance needed to be rewritten. Once the ordinance is rewritten it will be presented to the board once again.

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