Sound Ordinance Passes



Caroline Main

A party held by Colgate students in the Fall of 2011 prompted a series of sound complaints from the Village of Hamilton about the loud bass the event produced. Since then, the Village has been working to regulate the sound laws in Hamilton.

Last Tuesday, February 19, the Hamilton Board of Trustees voted on and passed a new Sound Ordinance. They hope that it will prevent loud noises at late hours and keep the peace in the Village.

“No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the operation of any sound device or apparatus within the Village of Hamilton with volume which is annoying, causes alarm, disturbs a reasonable person of reasonable sensitivity, unreasonably causes public inconvenience, or unreasonably disturbs the quiet use and enjoyment of one’s life and property,” states the official Ordinance.

The new law states that no sounds are to exceed that of 70 decibels from 30 feet away from the source of the sound. If an event plans to exceed this decibel level, the event organizers will contact the Village office and request a permit for their event. In the case of a sound permit, this level may be exceeded. Additionally, sound must cease by 11:59 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and no later than 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Mayor Margaret Miller worked with other members of the village government as well as representatives from the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Dean of  Students, Scott Brown, in order to come to an agreement.

“It is good to ensure that all students have an understanding of the rules in order to avoid any trouble,” SGA President Matt Ford said. “The SGA found almost all aspects of the regulation to be entirely reasonable, including the levels considered acceptable in the Village.”

 Both Colgate and the town agreed on the decibel level and the reasons it needed to be institutued.

“This is primarily targeted at outdoor parties that can annoy the residents, although the residents do still have to understand they live in a university town and there are going to be parties. This is just so we can try to all live together and have some compromise of some kind,” Mayor Miller said.

The process will be similar to the one that currently exists. The system in place still requires outdoor events such as concerts to acquire permits. The difference is that there will be a specific measurement that will determine whether or not the level of sound is permitted by the law.

“The police already respond to noise complaints and do a good job with it. We just thought this would be an additional tool for them so that they wouldn’t have to make a judgment. There would be regulation to determine whether or not it was a violation,” Miller said. “If we get a complaint, we need to address it because it would be disturbing the peace.”

Mayor Miller makes clear that the Village government is not trying to do away with the events that Colgate students enjoy attending. Colgate students will have time to adjust to the new law and figure out how to best abide by it.

“Over the next few months, Senate committees will be publishing a handbook to ensure that all students are educated.  They will additionally be publishing a handbook on both Campus Safety and Hamilton Police interactions, to ensure that students know their rights and can interact amicably with all officers,” Ford said.

Events applying for sound permits should not anticipate difficulty in obtaining these permits. Mayor Miller expressed that the new process of granting permits is to make the Village more aware of the events that are happening on Colgate’s campus so that they can anticipate them.

“We won’t put it into place without some leeway and warnings. We aren’t out to limit peoples’ time of having fun, because you do need to let loose once in awhile. It’s just to consider what it does to the community,” Miller said.

Contact Caroline Main

at [email protected]