The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a new noise ordinance at its Oct. 16 meeting.
The ordinance was introduced by District 7 Councilmember Howard Shook, who said the main problem with the former ordinance was that it allowed police officers to use noise metering devices to record noises exceeding the allowed levels. The new ordinance removes all of the language around noise metering equipment, Shook said.
The officers were encouraged to use this method to issue citations, but they were easily disputed because they were not calibrated, officers were not trained or humidity levels interfered with the readings, Shook said.
“It was originally considered the sounder option would be to go into court with sound levels,” he said. “The meters were not very reliable and were often thrown out.”
The ordinance is mostly copied from the Athens-Clarke County, Ga. noise ordinance, which was upheld in a 2011 state Supreme Court case that challenged its constitutionality.
Rebecca King, who is challenging Shook in the Nov. 7 election, said she supports the ordinance and hopes to see more legislation introduced to strengthen penalties and limit car modifications that King said in an email often cause loud noise on Peachtree Road late at night.
“It’s great to see the City Council move to strengthen the noise ordinance,” King said. “The key to making the noise ordinance effective is working with state legislators to address the modifications of exotic cars and motorcycles that use after-market parts, whose sole purpose is noise, and giving the police stronger backing to penalize violators.”