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Police To Decide What’s ‘Too Loud’ In Nashville

The final version of Nashville's noise ordinance leaves police to decide what noises are so loud they are causing a disturbance.

motorcyle

Photo: Bill Shaw/WFIU-WTIU News

Motorcyles are one of the main causes of noise disturbances in Nashville.

Nashville police will begin enforcing a new noise ordinance, but because discussion of the ordinance stripped out provisions for measuring how loud a sound is, ticketing has been left up to the discretion of officers.

An early draft of the legislation would have given police decibel meters to measure noise levels, but the enacted version of the law only refers to “sound that is of a volume, frequency, or pattern that prevents, disrupts, injures, or endangers the health, safety, welfare, prosperity, comfort or repose of reasonable persons, including law enforcement officials.”

Nashville Deputy Ben Seastrom says he has got his own read of what that means.

“It’s drawn out in the ordinance that the distance from the noise will determine whether or not it’s a violation,” he says. “If it’s loud, I believe, at 25 feet, and is disruptive to the public, then it’s a violation.”

Town Council President Robert Kirlin says the altered ordinance is not about ticketing noisy motorcyclists which can dominate downtown streets during peak tourist seasons, but about sustaining the tranquility of Brown County.

“What we’re trying to do, again, is keep this place a peaceful, quiet community where kids can come, where families can come, and enjoy it.”

The new ordinance takes effect November 8.

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