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Geneva eyes noise ordinance

October 3, 2012

    The Geneva Town Council approved a noise ordinance on the first of three readings at its meeting on Tuesday.
    The ordinance prohibits unreasonable, unnecessary, excessive and offensive noise from all sources. The ordinance explains that certain levels of noise are detrimental to the health, safety, comfort and repose of the citizens of the town of Geneva.
    Accordingly, the ordinance prohibits a person to play, use, operate or permit to be played, used or operated any audio device for the producing or reproducing of sound if it is audible beyond a distance of 30 feet from the device producing the sound.
    The ordinance also reads that motor vehicles are prohibited from creating loud or unnecessary grating, grinding or other noises including noises as a result of a defective or modified exhaust system as well as unnecessary rapid acceleration, deceleration, revving the engine or tire squeal.
    Exceptions to the ordinance include sound emitted from sirens of authorized emergency vehicles; lawn mowers, garden tractors and similar home power tools when properly muffled between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.; burglar alarms or other warning devices; legally conducted celebrations on Halloween and legal holidays; and permitted parades or festivals.
    Also, attendant noise connected with the actual performance of athletic or sporting events and practices related to them; the emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency, or for the performance of emergency work; and sounds associated with normal conduction of legally established non-transient business when such sounds are customary, incidental and within normal range appropriate for such use.
    Violators of the Geneva noise ordinance will be fined $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense within 12 months of the first offense, and $100 for the third or subsequent offense within 12 months of the second offense. All fines assessed and paid are to be deposited into Geneva's Local Law Fund within seven days of the infraction.
    Final passage may come at next month's council meeting.

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