City ponders noise limits

Posted: Tuesday, October 07, 2003

People who want something done about noise in Juneau have a chance to be heard.

Assembly member and Lands Committee Chairman Randy Wanamaker said he doesn't know whether there is a noise problem. But two Juneau residents who believe there is a problem have complained to the Lands Committee - one in person and one in writing.

Wanamaker said he believes more people have an opinion on the issue.

"We would love to hear from people on either side," he said.

The committee could recommend the Assembly take some kind of action on the issue.

The two formal complaints have found fault with the noise ordinance between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.

"Clearly the nuisance does not stop at 9 a.m.," John B. d'Armand, from the Auke Bay area, wrote to the Lands Committee in August.

Both complaints also singled out car stereos as the major problem.

D'Armand called them "boom cars." Lee Hacker from the Lemon Creek area said his problem is "subwoofers blasting down the highway."

Hacker, who testified before the Lands Committee, told the Empire the problem is especially prevalent between Glacier Highway and Egan Drive.

D'Armand, a University of Alaska adjunct music professor, wrote that people are free to listen to the music of their choice.

"(But) it seems that innocent people also should be free not to listen. ... The thumping sounds inflicted on us by inconsiderate and self-centered people shake walls and rattle windows, drown out conversations and interfere with others' ability to enjoy the music of their choice or simply to enjoy relative quiet," d'Armand wrote.

He suggested specific laws addressing the problem, enhanced penalties for repeat offenders and violations in specific areas, impounding vehicles and sentencing offenders to listen to music they don't like.

Hacker said he would like to see a 24-hour ordinance. He has had heart surgery, and says car stereo noise aggravates his stress level.

Hacker said he has called police, but that they don't enforce the ordinance they have.

Juneau Police Capt. Tom Porter said Monday he would have to look into the situation before being able to comment on the city's enforcement of the noise ordinance.

Wanamaker said the Lands Committee is still in the process of gathering information. He is looking for an analysis of the situation to be ready early next year.

• Tony Carroll can reached at

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