The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees voted Monday, Sept. 12 to adopt an amendment to the township’s noise ordinance with a few modifications, most notably the exemption of school activities from the ordinance provisions.
Among the changes made to the ordinance was the striking of the section related to noise on school property, which would have limited activities between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Instead, the section will now read that “all activities on school property shall be exempt.”
This issue arose after some township residents living near West Bloomfield High School raised concerns about the level of noise coming from the loudspeakers at the school’s football stadium, and from marching band practices being held at the school.
Resident Rachel Margulies said that the noise has been an ongoing issue and that it makes it hard to put her child to sleep at night.
Resident Steven Balan also said to the board that he has worked with Pat Watson, the school’s athletic director, on controlling the noise but the township needs a backstop because the noise at each event held at the football field varies.
West Bloomfield Schools Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Andrees and West Bloomfield Band Boosters President Jacqueline Goldstein both spoke to the township board regarding the matter.
Andrees said that the current speakers have been in place since 1996, but the amplifiers were changed in 2008.
She added that training has been given to those who operate the equipment and that there is a white line on the volume control that indicates the level where the volume was not to be exceeded, and that the district would work with the community to make sure that the volume remains at a reasonable level.
Goldstein added that if the school property section was to remain in place in the ordinance amendment, it risked crippling the school’s successful band program.
She added that the band program will work to make sure that it’s upcoming Laker Invitational band competition on Oct. 22 will end at a reasonable hour.
The board also struck from the amendment a section pertaining to places of worship, which would have permitted the ringing of bells and chimes and announcements of religious services between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Also struck was a section regarding emergency work by or for governmental agencies or public and private utility companies, including snow removal.
Another modification was the penalty clause, which would render an ordinance violation a municipal civil infraction with the fine to be determined.
The amendment applies to Sec. 15-141, which is listed as “Disturbing the peace and noise regulations” in the township ordinance book.
Under the ordinance amendment, sounds coming from a parcel of land or an individual unit in a multi-unit building shall not exceed 85 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 75 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The new ordinance provisions clarify that activities such as construction noises, removal of garbage and/or solid waste and unloading of materials can exceed the stated decibel limits, provided that the projects comply with restrictions, limitations and conditions set forth by the township.