Madison County looks at noise

DANIELSVILLE, Ga. -- Madison County Commission might have an answer for the problems some county residents have with noisy neighbors during the day.

The solution has been in Georgia law the whole time, Commissioner Bruce Scogin says.

Scogin will brief fellow commissioners today on a state law that requires all residents to keep an orderly house. That means they can't blare music and disturb their neighbors - not even during the day, Scogin believes.

"That provision could probably already be enforced by the sheriff if someone is disturbing the neighborhood on a consistent basis," he said. "It's a lot simpler solution than the previous amendment we came up with because it's already in Georgia law."

Madison County already has a noise ordinance that regulates sound at night.

In October, the commission - Scogin included - voted down a proposed amendment that would control daytime noise. The amendment was too strict, too encroaching and too complex to enforce, commissioners argued at the time.

Farmers worried their tractors would cause too much noise.

Church and school officials were concerned that any outdoor picnics or sporting events might violate the law.

Commissioner Stanley Thomas said at the time that even his birthday party might be a little too loud.

Despite a long list of exceptions to deal with those worries, several residents complained that adding to the noise ordinance would constitute government micromanagement.

The state law, however, would not affect farmers or construction workers and their loud equipment, nor would it affect occasional concerts or big birthday parties, Scogin said.

"The complaints we've been getting are about loud noise on a regular basis during the day," he said. "I think we've got a pretty good ordinance, but we can't do anything about that right now."

Or could they? Scogin hasn't talked with the county attorney to see if the county would need to take any action to enforce the state law.

The commission won't take any action at tonight's meeting, Scogin said.

"This is more about sharing the information," he said. "I want to let them know where I'm at and ask them to look at the other avenues."

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