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Fri, Aug. 23

Letter: City needs noise control ordinance


As a follow up to Everett Sanborn's letter to the editor, April 23, the city's Mayor and City Council need to consider and control the ever-increasing escalation of noise pollution around our courthouse plaza.

Currently, the noise level from loud automobiles, motorcycles and car radios/boom boxes has become a growing problem for Prescott residents and visiting tourists, producing direct and cumulative adverse effects that impair health and degrade residential, social, working and learning environments with corresponding real (economic) and intangible (well-being) losses.

The people of a community have the right to choose the nature of their acoustical environment; it should not be imposed on them by others. Domestic tranquility is one of the six guarantees in the U.S. Constitution. In 1971, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that noise is a major threat to human well-being. That assessment has not changed in the intervening years; if anything the threat has intensified.

The aim of enlightened government controls should be to protect its citizens from the adverse effects of noise pollution. As former U.S Surgeon William H. Steward said during his tenure: "Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience. Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere."

Some of the recommendations that came out of the 2050 Project include: Upgrading our present city's noise ordinance to specifically address the problem of motorcycle and automobile engine/exhaust noise; Enforcement of noise level violations; Posting of noise ordinance signs entering in and around the downtown area; Prohibiting motorcyclists from revving their engines and installing exhaust pipes that violate state law; Post flyers in bike shops, bars, downtown businesses, etc; Conduct a public education program on noise pollution via newspaper articles, flyers, local radio announcements, etc.

After institution of an updated city noise ordinance, allow a 30/60-day "warning" period for violators. There are numerous examples of other city municipalities that have effectively instituted noise ordinances, our neighbor to the north, Jerome, as one example. That town's Chief of Police is on record as stating that there has been a noticeable improvement in controlling noise pollution in his municipality. Prescott should follow that example.

George M. Karsa


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