Hingham: Residents concerned about noise ordinance proposal

The Hingham Board of Selectmen met Thursday night, to review a controversial proposal for a noise ordinance that would impose a $100.00 fine for noise levels exceeding 55 decibels.

Residents packed the meeting to hear the noise by-law committee’s proposal.

Hingham Police Chief Michael Peraino said that right now police first issue a warning to violators and if they have to return, they then have charge them with disturbing the peace.

Peraino said it’s better to impose a fine than to charge people and drag them into court over a noise complaint.

“If we do have to come back, then we have to charge them with disturbing the peace. So now that means they have to go to court – it could be a hearing, could be an arraignment, depending on whether it’s an arrest – and then you have to get an attorney and if the person’s found guilty, they have a record.

So, by having the by-law, if we have to come back – and again, most people will comply – but if they don’t, then you hand them a $100.00 citation. It’s civil – no court, no record – and as the chief, I don’t want to be taking my residents to court and going through the whole court procedure and possibly getting that person a record, over a noise complaint.”

Many residents are worried that the noise ordinance would affect town sports events.

However, noise committee member Dennis King said there’s a provision for that in the by-law.

“It was the intent of this committee, not to impact youth sports in town at all, or any sport or any activity that is approved by a town board or committee,” King stated.

Selectmen have tabled the proposal for now and said more information is needed.

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