Hingham will be looking to voters at Town Meeting to approve a noise control Bylaw, limiting “noisy” operations in town to occur between the hours of 7:00a.m. to 8:00p.m.
Police Chief Michael Peraino said that in the Bylaw, a “noise disturbance” will have the same definition as disturbing the peace.
“Instead of arresting somebody, going to court, and making it a criminal offense, if this passes we will have the ability to give a civil ticket,” Peraino said, “It just saves a lot of time and overtime money, and gives us a tool not to give one of our residents a criminal record.”
Peraino said the department has “always wanted this,” mainly because of construction.
“We’ve had a number complaints and Hingham’s been doing a lot of construction for the last 10 years,” Peraino said, “It’s been a constant problem for us, and we’ve never had anything in writing with the hours that they’re allowed to do their construction.”
With the passing of the Bylaw, construction work, along with the use of domestic and commercial power tools, would all be limited to the hours of 7:00a.m. to 8:00p.m. Snow blowing is exempt from this restriction.
Peraino said after a warning is given, fines would begin at $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $300 for the third.
Declan Boland, Noise Bylaw Study Committee Chair, said the concern with noise was raised at last year’s Town Meeting.
“There was a new proposal for a sports field…and there was an issue with noise coming from the sports field,” Boland said.
He added that one of the citizens in town was looking into why there wasn’t a bylaw across the whole town.
“During that discussion, it was decided between the Selectmen and the citizen actually to have no action at that meeting and in turn then to create a Bylaw Committee,” Boland said.
Since the Committee’s formation in October, 2013, they have researched 13 different towns and cities in depth who have adopted similar bylaws.
According to Boland, they put out a first draft in December, but it was “softened” after receiving public feedback.
Boland said the original draft included decibels, but they removed that piece of it because, “It’s difficult to define…and it’s difficult to enforce,” he said.
Boland adds that if the Bylaw is approved, the committee will get together again around September to see “what’s working and what’s not.”