Editorials

Noise ordinance a welcome idea

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lyndeborough selectmen, at the urging of a resident fed up with the noise of logging operations that begin as early as 4:30 a.m., are considering a noise ordinance.

Good.

Noise is the enemy of us all, whether it’s made by the cutting of trees or the revving of engines or the screeching of musical assault weapons.

Now the selectmen believe that a very specific ordinance, targeting loggers, might not be possible because it would be selective. They’re probably right and, frankly, any selective ordinance would be, if not legally unsound at least ethically.

No, Lyndeborough and any other town that doesn’t have one should adopt a noise ordinance that sticks all noises into the same category: potential nuisances. Leaf blower? Nuisance. Weed whacker? Nuisance. Car stereo system? Nuisance. Barking dog? Nuisance.

Now of course we realize that people need to use weed whackers and that sometimes dogs bark, but there can be limits. If your dog barks at 4 a.m., well, that’s just a nuisance and you need to do something about it. Whacking weeds at 7 a.m.? Nuisance. Don’t do it.

It would be nice if we didn’t need to regulate such things as noise, just as it would be nice if police officers didn’t have to worry about people texting or talking on the phone while they drive. But people aren’t always sensible or considerate.

Because of that, we all have to adopt a paraphrasing of William F. Buckley’s mantra that “Your right to swing your fist stops just short of my nose.”

We say:

“Your right to make noise stops just short of my ear.”

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