New Noise Ordinance Causing Controversy

October 27, 2005--Posted at 4:30 p.m. CST
POCAHONTAS-- A new noise ordinance in Randolph County has residents shouting opposition.
But citizens of Pocahontas say the ordinance is unnecessary and unfair.

Whoever thought the honk of a horn or the sound of the radio could cause so much controversy...

A new noise ordinance that was highlighted in last weeks paper has caused a lot of ruckus in a town that neighbors describe as peaceful ... 
 " 'Tell us what you thought about the noise ordinance when you saw it come out in the paper?'  It's Bologna," Pocahontas Resident Jeff Pfeffer says.
"It's too general. They need to be more specific," Resident Becky Griffith says.
The ordinance prohibits any loud or unnecessary noise that might disturb the peace and welfare of the public, but for one Griffith, it's just an excuse for neighbors to cry wolf ...
"You got a neighbor who's grumpy ... That just gives them a chance to call and get you a ticket for $150. It's not fair," Griffith says.
But Mayor Gary Crocker says the ordinance has been taken out of context causing some citizens to go to extremes.

"There's no substance to their concern. I don't know if any ordinance is specific enough or any ordinance can be too general," Mayor Gary Crocker says.

And as for citations, they will be given out by the officers discretion.
"You're always going to get to the point of the police officer that deals with it at the time, and what he sees, what he hears and what he has been told ... It's going to always be subject to interpretation," Mayor Crocker says.
The things that are mentioned in the ordinance like loud music, honking of horns, or a loud exhaust of an engine are instances that are prohibited, as the ordinance states, in unnecessary measures.
"It's going to be stuff that's out of bounds. It's going to be out of bounds stuff that happens before we do anything about it," Mayor Crocker says.
These are bounds the Mayor says have been misinterpreted.
"If we had any history of being unfair in those kind of things or if we were heavy handed in handing out tickets, then I'd understand their concern. But I don't think anybody that has called you can evidence one thing they can hang their hat on as any issue that's real," Mayor Crocker says.
The Mayor says the ordinance isn't that uncommon, and that they simply adopted an ordinance that's already in place in another Region 8 town.
Mayor Crocker says the city has no intentions of making the ordinance anymore specific.