New county noise ordinance bans construction on Sundays |

New county noise ordinance bans construction on Sundays

Jeremy Heiman

Changes to the county noise ordinance will prohibit construction work on Sundays and holidays in residential areas.

The Pitkin County commissioners changed the ordinance Wednesday in response to complaints from citizens. Homeowners will still be permitted to work on their own primary residences on Sundays and federally recognized holidays.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the amount of construction noise in residential areas,” said Tom Dunlop, director of the county’s environmental health department. Residential districts include a number of different zone districts and are defined in the county’s land-use code.

The action by the commissioners also changed the hours during which louder noise levels will be permitted anywhere in the county. The ordinance previously allowed louder noise from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but was changed to allow louder levels only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In residential districts, the permitted daytime noise level is 55 decibels, while the night level is 50 decibels. In industrial zones, the permitted level is 65 decibels during the day and 55 at night.

The commissioners increased the fine that can be levied for any violation of the noise ordinance from $100 to $600. A jail sentence of up to 10 days also can be imposed.

Dunlop told the commissioners the Sundays-and-holidays rule would be easier to enforce. Because it’s a complete prohibition, rather than a specific noise level, a sound metering device would not be needed.

Under the county’s enforcement policy, a violator would first receive a verbal warning. If the violation persists, a written warning would be issued, followed, if necessary, by a summons, Dunlop said. If a health danger is involved, environmental health officials can skip the warnings and issue a summons immediately.

The changes to the ordinance go into effect Oct. 26.

For further information, citizens can call Tom Dunlop or Carla Block at Pitkin County Environmental Health, 920-5070.

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