Residents support new noise ordinance

John Christensen The Chronicle-Express

A standing-room-only house greeted the Jerusalem Town Board Aug. 16 for the public hearing on the town’s proposed noise ordinance. And largely, the voiced opinions supported of the new law with more specific restrictions and harsher penalties.

The expected opinions were there: residents of Keuka Park who have complained about the noises that arise from living next to a college inhabited by a wide mix of young people, as well as one that hosts a variety of events during the summers. Members of the Keuka Park Association reiterated their complaints regarding Keuka College and its lively students. They also offered some revisions to wording referring to permission for the “operation or use of any organ, radio, bell, chimes or other instrument, apparatus, or device by any church, synagogue or school licensed or chartered by the State of New York.” One resident stated he believes the words “radio... other instrument, apparatus, or device” would make legal much of the noise that raises complaints, such as wedding receptions and other parties that go far into the night. Like the old law, he believes that phrase would make the new law unenforceable.

Residents from the neighborhood of Wager Hill complained of noise from wedding parties at Crispin Hill, the barn and orchard wedding venue that opened last year at the former Apple Barrel. Several complained they cannot enjoy weekends outdoors during the summer, and the amplified bass sounds penetrate their homes with the windows closed. The owners of Crispin Hill, Heather Tompkins and Chelsey Madia, said they have addressed the two complaints of the past and are doing what they can to be respectful neighbors; but they are also a business and are conducting the weddings under the terms of the town code and their permits. Neighbor Ira Golden offered as an example a law in Washington State that includes decibel levels and duration times. Fellow neighbor Adelle Middaugh supports that idea, and says she moved here from Connecticut for the country setting. She also worries about values and the salability of homes if any buyer were to be confronted with that loud music during an open house.

Residents Paul Middlebrook and Jamie Sisson questioned the enforceability of the new law and its fairness on a lake where noise can originate from another town across the water. Board Member Daryl Jones said Sheriff Ron Spike has reviewed the law and says the changes can be enforced, and Supervisor Pat Killen says Town Justice Matt Davison agrees.

The proposed law will returns to committee for possible revision.

In other business:

• Viewshed protection:Keuka Watershed Improvement Cooperative Chairman and Town of Wayne Supervisor Steve Butchko introduced an initiative for the Keuka Lake and Finger Lakes region for the protection of important scenic “viewsheds” by towns.

• Sewer Improvements: The board set a public hearing for a proposal to improve the Keuka Park sewer districts for Sept. 20. The project includes relining existing sewers and full rehabilitation of manholes for an estimated cost of $172,500; as well as a $50,000 shared cost for improvements to the Penn Yan Wastewater Treatment Plant.