Friday, December 01, 2006

Church Bells: Music or Annoyance?

A story in today’s Washington Post says a church must comply with Fairfax County’s noise ordinance or not toll at all.

An excerpt:
The county discovered that the bells registered at an average of 75 decibels (roughly equivalent to a vacuum cleaner at close range), which is considerably above the 55-decibel limit in residential areas.

The church reduced the power flowing to the three bells, which brought the reading down to 60 decibels, softer (about the sound of an air conditioner at 50 feet) but still above the limit.

If [the church] were elsewhere, it would be able to ring away. Prince William and Arlington counties allow a daytime maximum of 60 decibels. Montgomery County permits 65 decibels during the day.

One group for more than four hours nearly every Saturday blasts the H and 8th Street NE community with speech which ranges between 85 and 105 decibels. A loophole in the District of Columbia noise statue allows unreasonable people to commit such abuse.

The District of Columbia also gives churches wide latitude on a range of issues--from parking to noise. Let’s encourage our elected officials to apply noise regulations evenly without exceptions. Ignore origin or content and simply focus on the objectivity of a decibel meter.

How would you react to a church playing outside music, bells or loudspeakers at all hours of the day?


Blogger car253 said...

I am having the same problem. I live in Los Angeles and their noise ordinance, Chapter 11, Article 5, Section 115.02b also lets churches be as loud as they want and as often as they want. My city councilmember Ed Reyes told me he will not change the law. So, I guess the only way out is a lawsuit or I put up my church sign and blast away too.

2:04 PM  

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