Mutter says town will enforce noise ordinance on fireworks

Mutter says town will enforce noise ordinance on fireworks

CUMBERLAND – The fireworks situation in town over the past 10 days has exploded, resident Ted Vecchio told officials last week, and he would like to see allowable fines used as a deterrent.

Vecchio said there’s a “serious amount of fireworks being lit off at all hours of the night,” and they’re bothering a whole lot of people.

Other communities have also pointed to a proliferation of illegal and legal fireworks, with Pawtucket this week reporting more than a 500 percent increase in complaint calls through two-thirds of this month compared to all of last June.

Vecchio said the only item in the town’s code of ordinances he could see functioning as an enforcement mechanism is the noise ordinance setting out maximum decibel levels between 55 and 85 in various zones.

The maximum level in residential zones between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. is 65, but that drops to 60 decibels between 7 and 10 p.m. and 55 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The sound of a lawnmower equals about 90 decibels, while an air conditioner is about 60 decibels, meaning fireworks would easily exceed the standard at all times (mowing and other home maintenance activities are listed as some exceptions to the rule).

Penalties are a warning for a first offense, a $50 fine for a court conviction on a second offense, and $100 for a conviction on a third offense.

Mayor Jeffrey Mutter said he’s aware of the problem, particularly based on social media complaints, and is looking at the history of enforcing the ordinance. He said the town will crack down on the situation.

Councilor Lisa Beaulieu said police have made it clear that they will respond if someone calls to report a noise issue with fireworks. The caller doesn’t need to leave a name and contact information, she said, but do need to make police aware of the situation in a timely fashion.

In addition to mowing and construction, there are a number of exceptions to the noise ordinance, including the discharge of weapons or in fireworks displays licensed by the town between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Based on a reading of the noise ordinance this week, Mutter was asked whether fireworks set off by a resident would exceed decibel requirements at all times of day in Cumberland, and therefore always be a violation. He said that’s probably a correct interpretation of the law.

“It’s a difficult enforcement issue currently,” he said.

In other words, while the state has allowed ground-based fireworks for the past decade, setting them off in Cumberland appears to be a violation of local law.

Comments

"There are a number of exceptions to the noise ordinance, including the discharge of weapons or in fireworks displays licensed by the town between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m."
Since when is it legal to discharge a weapon in the town of Cumberland? Or does this just mean at the Beagle Club only? Very confusing!

Here are the noise ordinance exemptions from Cumberland:
https://ecode360.com/30176025
§ 14-38
Exemptions.
[Ord. No. 95-24, § 2, 10-18-1995; Ord. No. 96-12, § 1, 4-17-1996]
The following activities shall be exempt from noise level regulations.
(1)
Noises of safety signals, warning devices, or any authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call.
(2)
Noises resulting from emergency work as defined in § 14-32.
(3)
Any aircraft operated in conformity with or pursuant to federal law, federal air regulations, and/or air traffic control instruction.
(4)
Any noise resulting from activities of a temporary duration permitted by law and for which a license or permit therefore has been granted by the Town.
(5)
The emission of sound in the discharge of weapons or in fireworks displays licensed by the Town from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
(6)
The emission of sounds in the operation of snow removal equipment at any time; provided that such equipment shall be maintained in good repair so as to minimize noise.
(7)
The emission of sound relative to permitted construction and demolition activities; provided that such activity does not occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
(8)
The emission of sound in a residential area made in the course of the maintenance of a dwelling and or property; provided, however, that such activity does not occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
(9)
The emission of sound, notwithstanding appropriate zoning and licensing requirements, made in the regular course of business; provided, however, that: a) such sound does not occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and b) that sound or noise projecting from one zoned district with a different noise level limit shall not exceed the limits of the district from which the noise is projected.

I'm amazed at the complaints from people regarding fireworks, SERIOUSLY???? You all complain about fireworks, want the police to do something about the noise yet, on the other side of the river here in Lincoln I can hear loud motorcycles till sometimes 1:00am. Yet, no one bats an eye. JUST SAYIN..................

Fireworks are in one place and constant. Dangerous when some go astray and land in someone else's yard and sometime cause fires when the grass is really dry. How about an errant sky rocket that went off course and landed two feet from my screened porch? Motorcycles are a serious disturbance. By the time the police arrive, they are long gone. This is like comparing apples and oranges.

You can discharge a firearm in Cumberland on your property. Always could.
§ 26-2
Hunting wild birds or animals or discharging weapons.
[Ord. of 5-18-1983, §§ 1 — 4]

It's not just a "noise ordinance" they should be enforcing, though. It's the law - no fireworks that explode.