Nearly 40 noise complaints in Mt. Pleasant’s first month of noise ordinance monitoring

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 9:13 PM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2022 at 11:33 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The town of Mount Pleasant is about one month into a 90-day trial period for new noise ordinance rules. In April, council unanimously voted to pass a maximum threshold of 55 decibels as acceptable noise.

During the trial period, police officers use decibel readers for each complaint, and log the information in an effort to get a sample of sound across the town. Prior to this program, there was no set decibel, and whether or not a noise complaint was valid enough for a citation was left up to the officer on scene.

Officers have responded to approximately 39 calls for noise complaints from May 1 to May 23 and the police department is still operating under the existing town noise ordinance for enforcement.

For this program, officers will use devices to measure decibels from where the complaint is made. That’s usually from 50 feet away from the property line, according to the police.

The decibel readings have ranged from the mid-40s to the highest decibel reading of 103. Some examples of the calls across the town have included complaints about loud music, loud cars, barking dogs, and construction noise.

A handful of residents attended the council meeting to speak in favor of the new noise limit in April. They say it’s important to protecting their quality of life. Some businesses were concerned it would negatively impact them and their customers.

Jacob Robertson is the Bar Manager at Vickery’s on Shem Creek. He thinks there are positive and negative things about the pilot program.

“We have had problems before. We had been issued a citation. As far as since this program has went into effect, we have not had any issues. We have had bands, we’ve had loud music, we have not had them late, nor do we have any plans to having late night music,” Robertson says.

He says he thinks 55 decibels is too low for a blanket policy, and there’s nothing in the ordinance about different time frames.

“I think that noise that you produce on a Saturday, two o’clock in the afternoon should not be carried at the same level as the noise that you expect to hear on a Monday night at 10. o’clock at night,” Robertson says.

That’s why he thinks there needs to be a different decibel limit for different times, or at least a time limit on the 55 decibel restriction. He does say it’s a good idea to set a decibel number so that complaints and citations in the future are more uniform.

“I’m all about setting the decibel level and making it fair for everyone for the whole entire community whether you live on the creek whether you work at a bar or restaurant, what have you,” Robertson says. “But I do think that a timeframe should be put into place at some point.

Robertson says he knows the ordinance isn’t only targeting Shem Creek bars and restaurants. But he does think the 55 decibels could be a problem for construction, kids playing outside or even yard work. He hopes the program is revised after the

According to the April meeting minutes, Councilwoman Whitley said she though the decibel level was too low. Councilman Rambo said he was surprised that there is not a different decibel level for the daytime versus the nighttime.

After those members asked their questions Mayor Haynie said the policy will be reviewed after the 90 day trial period, and there will be room for changer.

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