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New noise ordinance limits late-night sound

SNOHOMISH — After more than two years of complaints, negotiations and campaigning, residents near Snohomish Station may finally look forward to quiet nights and mornings.
The council approved an ordinance that will protect residents from some sleep-shattering nuisance noises between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. seven days a week.
The list includes motorized and non-motorized noise from trucks unloading, leaf blowers, street sweepers and forklifts that cause two or more residents at separate addresses to complain about it.
Store representatives said honoring the new law would create a safety hazard. 
The Home Depot argued in part that early morning deliveries of cumbersome sheetrock between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. could not be made during store hours without endangering the public. Council members noted that those deliveries did not seem to be a source of complaints.
An attorney representing Home Depot offered to pay for decibel testing equipment and help train users in exchange for a decibel-based, rather than complaint-based, law, and to do sound studies if complaints were reported, but council felt the offers were not a viable solution.
The council did amend the noise law in consideration of two business concerns heard in prior meetings. The original draft included escalating penalties for each violation that meant violators could face criminal misdemeanor charge with jail time after three violations. The passed ordinance lowered that third penalty to a fine of $750. The amended ordinance also allows businesses to violate the noise standard between 6 and 7 a.m. if necessary to serve shoppers, as some of the stores are open before the 7 a.m. quiet limit lifts.



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