New Kendall noise law a relief for residents
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2013 4:24PM
Updated: October 19, 2013 7:19PM
YORKVILLE — That loud sigh Tuesday morning might have come from the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision, after the Kendall County Board here passed a new law restricting noise levels in the county.
“I feel relieved,” said Robin Eggert, a Boulder Hill resident who started the drive for a noise ordinance after an appearance last May before the board. “It’s a great relief that a light is at the end of the tunnel.”
Of course, that sigh could not be too loud now, because the law went into effect immediately upon passage Tuesday morning. That means Eggert might get some immediate relief from neighbors no more than a driveway’s length away, who she told the board last May were making her “a prisoner in my own home.”
Not that being in her home helped. Eggert said in the older part of Boulder Hill, houses are close together, and not constructed very well. You can hear a television on in a house when walking outside; inside the house, you can hear a simple car door shut.
When asked when she might use the new law, Eggert said “it could happen this weekend.”
“I mean, it happens on a daily basis,” she said, indicating the neighbors purposely turn music up loud when she gets home from work to bother her. “When we would call the Kane County Sheriff’s officers, [the neighbors]would, like they did with me, spit in their face. Up until now, they weren’t breaking the law.”
The new law says those neighbors cannot emit noise louder than 60 decibels during the day, defined as 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and 55 decibels at night, defined as 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Sheriff’s deputies will use a meter to measure the sound, one borrowed from the county’s Planning, Building and Zoning Department until they purchase their own. Sheriff Richard Randall said his department intends to eventually purchase several meters so they can have them quickly available in different parts of the county.
The new law exempts from the noise regulations such things as: emergency operations; noises required by law; power equipment, unless that equipment is poorly or improperly maintained; community events such as parades, festivals and sporting events; agricultural noise, if that is incurred on land zoned for agricultural uses; and motor vehicles, including motorcycles, unless they violate noise regulations in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code.
The exemptions and decibel levels were developed from similar noise ordinances already used in Kendall County municipalities.
One of the reasons it took five months, four drafts and numerous committee discussions to get the new ordinance done was because board members wanted to make sure the ordinance stressed getting people to comply, rather than punishing them.
Board members and county officials stressed that again Tuesday.
“It’s always a matter of compliance,” Randall told the board. “Some 60 to 75 percent of speeding stops end up in a warning ticket. If we can walk up to the door and get them to comply, it’s much better than writing a ticket.”