The Camel City Council has floated a sound ordinance amendment that would require Carmelites after 11 p.m. not to energize sound waves from an electronic device that can be heard beyond the boundaries of private property or from more than 50 feet from which the sound emanates if on public property. This is proposed because the existing ordinance requires a police officer to monitor sounds above certain decibel levels for at least 20 minutes.
Let me see if I’ve got this right. It’s a hot summer night; I’m watching TV and to save the planet, I’ve opened my windows. Oh, yes, I’m hearing impaired, so the volume is up. A neighbor is walking a dog past my house and the dog starts barking, causing other dogs to bark. Someone complains to the police and I receive a fine. Or I’m fishing in one of the Carmel ponds from a small rowboat, but I’ve got a radio playing Alan Jackson with the volume very low. Because of ducting caused by atmospheric temperature inversions after sunset over water, the sound of the radio carries 100 yards away.
Changing the evidence of violation from an objective recording decibel meter to the simple hearing of sound by a police officer moves the enforcement away from the objective to the subjective. Is this progress?
The amendment proposed violates the spirit of the slogan posted prominently in the Hamilton County Government Building in Noblesville: “The government that governs least governs best.” This amendment is proposed only because Carmel city officials failed to follow their own zoning regulations when giving The GOAT Tavern the green light to operate. To pass a law that impacts everyone just because of the failure on the part of a few government officials to do their job is overreaching.
Perhaps the amendment was the result of brainstorming to see what would stick to the wall. We hope it falls to the floor with a loud thud.
John Curran, Carmel