Nathan Stubbs

Councilman wants noise ordinance review

by Nathan Stubbs

Lafayette’s noise ordinance, which restricts excessive sounds in public areas, has been on the books almost eight years, but has seen little enforcement, according to councilman Bruce Conque. Conque is bringing the issue up as a discussion item at tonight’s city-parish council meeting. In particular, Conque is concerned that one resident in his district, Bret Resweber of 110 Acadian Drive, has filed exactly 100 complaints against Ricky Smith’s Audio, to no avail. The custom car audio shop in the South College Shopping Center corners a residential neighborhood and is known for cranking up the new sound systems it installs for customers. Ricky Smith’s was cited for a noise ordinance violation last year, but the case was thrown out in court because the officer who issued the citation was not present at the hearing. “Everybody’s just kind of throwing their hands up and saying, ‘look we’re trying,’” Conque says. “But nothing’s getting done.”

Adopted in 2000, the city’s noise ordinance sets a maximum permissible sound level of 60 decibels in residential areas during the day, and 50 decibels after 10 p.m. Violators are subject to civil fines of up to $3,000 for each offense. “If I recall,” Conque says, “we spent over $10,000 to write this sound ordinance. We brought in a consultant and everything. My big question tonight is, alright, we’ve got a good model law. How do we enforce it?” In addition to the noise ordinance, Conque wants to review enforcement of other city laws, particularly zoning regulations such as the city’s new sign ordinance. Conque says he would like to explore issuing immediate tickets to violators, as is done with parking and traffic violations, rather than go through the lengthy court process being used now.