County to use home rule

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 14, 2003

The County Commission plans to use its home rule power to control the noise in Shelby County.

Commission members decided Monday morning during a work session to present an &uot;enabling&uot; ordinance to the Legislative Delegation.

The ordinance, according to county attorney Frank C. &uot;Butch&uot; Ellis, would &uot;say Shelby County has the right to determine the rules and criminal penalties for violations of the noise ordinance.&uot;

&uot;The enabling legislation would regulate local noise and give you (the county commission) a chance to modify for whatever is appropriate. It gives considerable power to the county commission,&uot; Ellis said.

Currently, with the home rule power, the county can pass a noise ordinance with civil penalties.

&uot;If we want it to have the teeth it needs to have, it must have criminal penalties,&uot; said Commissioner Lindsey Allison, penalties that are enforceable through the district court system.

Ellis presented the commissioners with a proposed noise ordinance draft; however, he told them he believed the &uot;enabling&uot; legislation to be a viable alternative.

&uot;Instead of (the Legislative Delegation) approving the specifics of a noise ordinance, they will approve legislation which will allow the commission to address the issue locally with criminal penalties,&uot; Ellis said.

The commissioners agreed.

&uot;If we work through this, there will be a lot of changes to be made,&uot; said commissioner Don Armstrong.

&uot;If the legislature passes it with the specifics, time will become an issue. It will take a long time to get anything changed. If we pass it (more ambiguously) and we have to backtrack, we can just rescind the ordinance. It won’t get tied up in the Legislature.&uot;

The commissioners requested that Ellis write the &uot;enabling&uot; legislation in a way that would allow the county commission to have the power to modify it at any time.

After the Legislature gives its approval to the local bill, the commissioners agreed to revisit the issue of what should be included in the noise ordinance.

The ordinance Ellis presented to the commission stated: &uot;The operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, television, stereo, musical instrument, sound amplifier or other device which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound at such a volume as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of any person in any other residence or to interfere in the conduct of business operations at any commercial enterprise is prohibited and a violation of this section.&uot;

Noise created by vehicle radios, mufflers or horns or excessive smoke are also prohibited in this draft