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Irvine City Council Discusses Proposed New Noise Ordinance

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Irvine may soon be a quieter place, as the City Council on June 13th asked for a review and updating of the City’s anti-noise ordinance.
 
Amplified music and tighter enforcement were among the concerns raised by Councilmember Kathleen Treseder in asking for the review, but much of the Council discussion centered on gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers.
 
“When I talk to residents of Irvine, the gas-powered leaf blowers are the second-most cited nuisance” behind traffic, said Treseder. She suggested the City ban the gas-powered equipment by next year.
 
Other Councilmembers and public commenters all agreed that the landscaping equipment noise is a pervasive nuisance.
 
Councilmember Mike Carroll suggested that the City should look at a program to provide vouchers or other financial assistance to small businesses to transition from gas-powered equipment to electric alternatives. Treseder noted that the County already has such a program in place, but the City could complement that effort or do outreach for its own program.
 
Councilmembers decided to bring the transition to electric landscaping equipment back for discussion at the next meeting (June 27th), separate from the noise ordinance overview.
 
Meanwhile, City staff will be reviewing the ordinance, last updated in 2005, with an eye toward applying the current best practices in mitigation and enforcement. In particular, Treseder asked for:

  • A reduced limit on amplified sound that takes account of both volume and bass effects.
  • Closing enforcement loopholes, such as the requirement for 15 minutes or 30 minutes of continuous noise to occur before enforcement is triggered.
  • Streamlining enforcement procedures and making it easier for citizens to report violations.

City staff was given 30 days to complete their review.

Roger Bloom

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