CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MEADOWLAKES — To keep the peace, Meadowlakes City Council members have amended the city’s noise ordinance to regulate maximum sound levels while also placing more limits on music, vehicles and pet noise.
Officials recently approved amendments to the original one-page law, expanding it to eight pages. The changes include more definitions and penalties as well.
“One page was totally unenforceable with the language that we had. Noise ordinances are difficult anywhere, whether it’s a small quiet, mostly bedroom community like ours or out in the middle of Marble Falls or downtown Austin,” Mayor Mary Ann Raesener said. “There’s not a lot of problems or complaining … but we want to make sure the quality of life is maintained.”
The city has about 2,000 residents and no commercial businesses.
Officials modeled the amended ordinance after one in Horseshoe Bay.
“It’s designed to help when there are instances or repeated instances of loud music at night from a residence after normal bedtime or extremely loud cars and trucks going up and down the street,” the mayor said.
Additions include setting an 85-decibel noise limit and proximity restrictions and time parameters for loud music on private property.
For example, the ordinance prohibits “any open venue audible at distance of one hundred (100) feet or more from the source” during certain hours; no earlier than noon each day and no later than 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.
“It will give (residents) a resource if they are experiencing loud noise problems that wake them up if they’ve gone to bed,” she said. “They can call our ordinance officer or local sheriff’s office to come out.”
Another section addresses noisy pets, including dogs and birds.
“If you’ve got a dog constantly barking under your window when it’s in your neighbor’s backyard, there’s language that addresses that,” Raesener said.
Council members say they want to arm residence with a law that would justify enforcement.
“We want to make sure we’re ready to address it,” she said.
Violators face up to a $200 fine.