City Council Work Session


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  10.       
Meeting Date: 11/29/2022  
Co-Submitter: Dan Musselman From: Paul Lasiewicki, Deputy Police Chief

TITLE:
Vehicle Nuisance Noise Ordinance Discussion
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
Receive direction on City of Flagstaff Vehicle Nuisance Noise Ordinance
Executive Summary:
In October of 2019, a Flagstaff resident emailed the Mayor and Council to express his concerns about unnecessary noise pollution. The resident specifically pointed out a concern about vehicles equipped with “intentionally loud automobile mufflers” and went on to say “I can't count the number of times that I have been assaulted by blasts of noise from cars spewing their deep and threatening engine vibrato.  Their abuse can be heard, even felt, from blocks away”.
 
This email was followed up by a petition to the Flagstaff City Council containing 29 signatures titled “Intentional Noise Pollution”. This petition requested the City Council consider the effects of noise pollution on the quality of life in Flagstaff. It asks the Council to address the unnecessary noise created when drivers intentionally modify a vehicle for the sole purpose of increasing their noise footprint.
 
These concerns were presented to Council during the June 1, 2021, regular council meeting. After the presentation the Council voted to have an ordinance drafted to address nuisance noise.

An ordinance was presented to Council on September 21, 2021. At the conclusion of that discussion Council requested a work session to further discuss a possible ordinance.
 
On January 25 of this year, Police Department staff presented the proposed noise ordinance with different options for enforceable sound levels and qualities to Council for their consideration. At that time, Council directed the City to hire a consultant to conduct a sound study and provide recommendations for noise enforcement. On June 22 MD Acoustics, the hired consultant, provided Police Department staff with a report detailing their findings and recommendations.
 
The Flagstaff Police Department has facilitated several community outreach efforts, including two Coffee with a Cop events at local coffee shops, a neighborhood meeting at the Murdoch Center, and a town hall meeting at City Hall in an effort to solicit input on the ordinance from Flagstaff citizens most impacted by the elements of the proposed ordinance.
 
On October 18 City Council provided guidance to create two separate Nuisance Noise Ordinances: one regulating vehicle noise and one regulating noise from fixed sources. Additional direction was given to staff on the Nuisance Vehicle Noise ordinance. We are here today for any further discussion on the attached Draft Nuisance Vehicle Noise ordinance.
Financial Impact:
The proposed ordinance being presented will apply to nuisance vehicle noise only.

With regards to any financial impact this ordinance will bear on the City of Flagstaff if passed: If the council approves the amendments to City Code 6-08-01-02, there will be a need to purchase the proper sound level meters necessary for enforcement. In addition, enforcement personnel will need to attend the necessary training to become certified in the meter’s use. Certification and continued recertification in the use of a class 2 decibel meter would be necessary for the Police Officer or Code Enforcement Officer to testify in court.

Each person operating the sound level meter for enforcement would need to receive initial training/certification and continued recertification prior to its use. Currently, a five-day Community Noise Enforcement Certification Course is offered by Rutgers at the Rutgers Noise Technical Assistance Center (RNTAC). This training is offered in a Webex (online) format. The cost for attending the certification training is $625. The recertification class, which is required every 24 months, is $325.

Additional information can be found at: https://envsci.rutgers.edu/rntac/schedule.html.

The plan is to train one Patrol Lieutenants, all five Police Officers who are assigned to the traffic enforcement squad, and two Police Officers from each of the eight patrol squads for a total of 22 personnel out of 118 authorized sworn officers. The training currently costs $625 per person.  

For the above planned 22 officers to attend the training, the training cost will be $13,750.
 
We will need to purchase 22 sound level meter kits (containing a meter, wind screen and calibrator) at $930 per unit for a material cost of $20,460.
 
The officers are required to re-cert every 2 years at accost of $325 per re-certification. 

Due to officer attrition, we will be asking for line item to conduct re-certifications and additional certifications (for new officers) as we replace officers who leave. The best estimate is that this yearly cost will be $5,000 - $10,000.
 
These costs have been approved as a part of the COF FY2022-2023 budget.
Policy Impact:
This will provide a tool for officers to educate the public and take enforcement action on vehicles that are excessively loud.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
 
Safe and Healthy Community:
   Foster a safe, secure, and healthy community.
   Provide public safety with the resources, staff and training to respond to community needs.
 
Previous Council Decision on This:
No.
Attachments
Draft Ordinance
Vehicle Nuisance Noise Ordinance Presentation


    

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