Local businesses have until Jan. 17, 2013, to submit comments about the proposed "Mesquite Noise Ordinance," which is to be introduced at the Jan. 22 city council meeting.
The need to amend the city’s noise abatement ordinance arose from complaints by some residents in the Leavitt Lane neighborhood last summer, when the CasaBlanca Hotel and Casino staged several “Casapaloosa” events – rock concerts by the resort’s outdoor pool.
City staff met with the residents and hotel management, but decreasing the volume from the concerts still didn’t satisfy some of the people who lived nearby.
The citizen clamor moved to the city council meeting on Nov. 27 when two Leavitt Lane residents criticized the council for reneging on commitments made to them to take up the issue in October and then in November. But a noise abatement ordinance had not appeared on the agenda during the fall.
City Attorney Cheryl Hunt explained why no action had yet been taken.
She said the city needed a calibrated sound meter and someone trained to operate it, before there could be evidence gathered about sound levels that would stand up during prosecution.
“A machine arrived this week and the Mesquite Police Department is testing it,” she told the council during the Nov. 27 meeting. “This is not a process the (city) staff can rush.”
She also explained that before the council could consider a new ordinance the process must conform with NRS 237.080. That statute mandates businesses that could possibly affected by any proposed rules be allowed to “submit data or arguments to the governing body or its designee as to whether the proposed rule will: (a) Impose a direct and significant economic burden upon a business; or (b) Directly restrict the formation, operation or expansion of a business.”
The city conformed to that NRS on Dec. 17. It sent more than 500 letters to Mesquite businesses and other individuals noting an amendment had been drafted and would be introduced to the council at its Jan. 22 meeting. The letter notes the full amendment to the code could be seen on the city’s website at http://links.mesquitenv.gov/bill469.
She asked businesses to submit their comments about Bill 469 by Jan. 17.
And the ordinance would affect any business that could create noise.
That will affect construction. From May 1 through Sept. 31, construction will not be allowed from 9 a.m. until 5 a.m. And from Oct. 1 through April 30, construction is prohibited from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Vehicles must have proper muffling devices and trucks will be prohibited from engine braking during quiet hours.
People won’t be able to disrupt others with music too loud in the city’s parks. The proposed bill prohibits “loud sound amplification devices” on public property or public rights of way.
During daytime hours, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays noise volume “shall not be plainly audible to anyone at a distance of 200 or more feet” away from the source. During nighttime hours, 10 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Sundays through Thursdays and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, noise should not be audible to anyone farther away from the source than 100 feet.
Violating the "Mesquite Noise Ordinance" would be a misdemeanor with a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $1,000 or jail time not to exceed six months, or both. Each day the violation continues is considered a separate offense.
There also are exemptions that will be discussed during the Jan. 22 meeting.
If Bill No. 469 is adopted, the city will face some additional costs. The
calibrated sound meter costs about $3,000. There will also be a one-time
travel-and-training expense for the Noise Control Administrator of about
$2,000, and an annual $500 sound meter calibration fee. If approved, the funds
will be taken from the General Fund Reserves.