Breitung examines noise law

By NIKKI YOUNK

Staff Writer

QUINNESEC – Members of the Breitung Township Board of Trustees are looking to simplify the township’s noise ordinance by removing any reference to decibel levels.

The issue was discussed at the board’s Monday meeting.

Township Superintendent Joe Rogina said that the current noise ordinance, which is based upon decibel levels, is basically unenforceable.

“At present, we have no decibel meter, nor is anyone trained or certified to use one,” he explained.

Township Attorney Bill Fahey suggested that the township instead adopt an ordinance similar to the one used by Marquette Township.

In that ordinance, prohibited noises are referred to not in decibel terms, but in general terms such as “excessive, unnecessary, unnatural, or unusually loud,” “prolonged noises that are unusual and unnatural in their time, place, and use,” or “noises that disturb the peace and comfort of the public or are a detriment to the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare, peace, and prosperity of the general public.”

Fahey confirmed that this ordinance has held up in court.

Rogina felt that it would also give responding law enforcement officers or code enforcement officers more discretion.

The proposed ordinance change will go to a public hearing at the township’s July 28 meeting for further discussion.

In other business, the board:

– Heard a positive 2013 audit report from auditor Debbie Bradford. She noted that the township had a general fund balance of $2.2 million, listed no over-budgeted items for the year, and required no significant audit adjustments.

– Accepted Midwest Asphalt and Gravel’s bid of $13,104.75 to pave approximately 1,100 feet of roadway in the cemetery. It was the only bid received.

– Approved for board members, the township superintendent, and planning commission members to attend the Michigan Township Association meeting in Marquette from Aug. 26-28.

– Placed an advertisement in the Dickinson Area Partnership’s directory at a cost of $250.

– Made two adjustments to the township’s personnel policy. They include changing language in the policy to opt out of the township’s health care plan, and adding members of an employee’s immediately family to the first affinity (such as a father, mother, son, or daughter) under the sick leave policy.

– Approved a request from Department of Public Works Superintendent Guy Forstrom to display the township’s antique Model A fire truck at the Niagara centennial, Pembine centennial, and a car show at the Ford Forestry Center in Alberta.

– Allowed Forstrom to move forward with plans to construct a white gazebo-type structure on the west side of the township hall. The structure would be about 16 feet across, cost about $3,000 to build, and would be available for both township employees and residents to use.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.