Richmondville says no to no noise


By Jim Poole

Richmondville residents couldn't keep quiet about their town's proposed noise ordinance Thursday night.
Speaker after speaker criticized the proposal, and afterwards, town board members chose not to approve the law.
The ordinance had been proposed at the town's September meeting but held off voting on it then because residents raised questions.
On Thursday, Councilman Bill Lancaster at first defended the law, explaining that its purpose was to limit construction of the proposed Constitution Pipeline and hydrofracking for natural gas that may follow.
"We're trying to be proactive," Dr. Lancaster said.
"No one on this board wants to change the rural core that makes this community so special."
But the dozen or so speakers among the 40 who attended still blasted the law as unenforceable, discriminatory, subjective, and too limiting on residents.
Times limiting loud noise--9pm from May to August and 7pm the rest of the year--drew considerable fire.
"Why not just cut to the chase and give me an eviction notice," asked Lancaster Development President Mark Galasso.
He pointed out that his crews often start work before 7am, and some work at night.
"I'm not curtailing my hours of operation. I'm not putting my employees on the street."
Others agreed with Mr. Galasso.
"You're curfewing this town," said former Supervisor Betsy Bernocco. "You're punishing people" who work after hours."
"With this law, you'd ticket a guy who's working [late] on his car because he has to drive to his job," another man said.
Several speakers argued that because the law has no decibel level, there are no guides for what's loud and what isn't.
"This law is bad in so many ways," said Dolores Benedict. "This law is a Long Island law. It's one person's opinion against another."
Because Richmondville has no police force, it was also unclear how the town would enforce the law.
"How are you going to enforce this?" Ms. Bernocco asked board members. "The codes officer is not going to get up in the middle of the night and enforce this."
"The worst thing you can do is pass this law," added Bob Nied. "It's a poor law you can't enforce."
Councilman Paul Maurice agreed that the law "was not passable" and suggested that the board vote on a motion not to pass the proposal.
Although he had defended the law at first, Dr. Lancaster agreed.
"They don't like the law," he said.
Councilmen voted unanimously not to approve the law.