Should someone else - not CMPD - enforce the noise ordinance?

New way to handle noise complaints

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Pick any area in Charlotte and chances are you hear some kind of noise. Day and night. And residents are not keeping quiet about it.

“We hear a lot about noise. It’s up there probably in the top five things we hear,” said City Council member Tariq Bokhari. “It ranges from cars without mufflers screaming by to construction noise at night to events that have amplified sound."

According to Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, in 2017 they received 10,559 noise complaints.

So far this year 9,120 calls have come in.

The department says when officers respond to noise calls, they spend about 42 minutes on each call.

The question before the city is: is a noise complaint a public safety or a quality of life issue?

“I think there’s a big difference especially when you look at the volume in the complaints we get in an average year between true public safety which is what our officers should be involved in and potential nuisance - which they absolutely should not be wasting their time” said Bokhari.

The city council’s Community Safety Committee has been getting updates from police about the noise issue.

Now, the discussion is starting to include whether someone else - not police - should enforce the noise ordinance.

“Do we need to look at handling this differently because they’re so many calls based on the data?" asks Council member James Mitchell.

"And where should 311 and citizen review boards and different other things that we can figure out ways to make the problem get solved but it doesn’t necessarily have to take away from them doing immediate response on in the middle of the night” wonders Council member Bokhari.

Police say the noise complaints vary by neighborhoods.

The department says in Uptown, officers tend to get complaints about noise coming from nightclubs and construction.

In Steele Creek, the calls are about construction noise.

And in the University City area, officers are responding to complaints about too much noise coming from apartments.

City officials say they know something has to be done about all kinds of noise.

“We hear loud and clear the impact it’s having on people trying to sleep at 2am that their whole house is shaking and vibrating,” says Council member Mitchell. “I think the communication piece is what we really need to work on."

Mitchell says when it comes to construction noise, the other problem the city has is residents are not being properly informed.

“We hear loud and clear from some of our citizens that they’re not notified when it starts. They don’t know the schedule and they don’t know the construction time line schedule,” says Mitchell.

Unless there’s an exception granted, construction is suppose to cease between 11pm-to-7am but some companies have been able to get permission to work at night.

“So when we make those exceptions I think that’s a good part we need to reach out to the community” says Mitchell.

Mitchell says he doesn’t believe residents want growth to stop.

“They’re not against construction. They’re against how it’s interrupting their life and a lot of them say if it had been communicated, talking to, part of the solution they would feel a lot better” he said. “No one is saying hey – stop construction. They’re saying it’s impacting my life and could we do this a different way. And I think we need to look at doing it a different way.”

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