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Our Noise Ordinance
What it is, How it Works

This editorial about noise pollution was published by the Long Beach Press-Telegram on September 19, 2006.
Noxious noise
Councilwoman addresses a key quality-of-life issue

Long Beach City Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal wants to address noise pollution in Long Beach. We hear her.

The official, who has distinguished herself as a neighborhoods' advocate with efforts to find parking and reduce cruising, plans to address auditory assaults at a 6 p.m. Sept. 28 forum in the Aquarium of the Pacific's Honda Theatre.

She has appropriately dubbed the session for 2nd District residents, "Let's talk about noise." Let's, indeed.

Noise is up there with graffiti when it comes to the paper cuts that slice away at quality of life until a neighborhood bleeds good residents. Lowenthal said it's unfortunate that the city needs to legislate "common courtesy." She's right. But courtesy, unfortunately, is increasingly uncommon.

There are higher-profile crimes than a leaf blower disrupting the dawn, but noise pollution affects nearly everyone. Nothing is worse than not being able to sleep, work or think due to someone else's racket.

The meeting's scope is as broad as the problems. Lowenthal wants to tackle construction start and stop times, illegally modified motorcycle pipes, car and home stereos, early morning yard work, incessant dog barking, loud parties and any other intrusions that residents bring to her ears.

Residents are "sleeping in fits and starts," she said, adding that employers depend on rested workers and that groggy parents need to be alert when driving their children to child care in the morning. In addition, plenty of people stay home with their kids or have home offices disrupted day and night.

The problems do not start at 10 p.m. Being a good neighbor is an around-the-clock obligation.

Lowenthal has learned of the noise concerns from both experience and constituents. She said she lived across from the CityPlace mall downtown during construction and that workers often started before their set 7 a.m. time. In her current residential neighborhood, lawn edgers and barking dogs have cut into her sleep.

Her constituents in the Villa Riviera on Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue have said motorcycles and construction scofflaws drive them mad, even several stories up. With all of the downtown construction, Lowenthal told us she wants to make sure builders adhere to construction laws and suggests later start times.

Lowenthal said that she hopes to learn of residents' concerns, review ordinances governing a variety of noisy activities and find out more about police and Health Department efforts to enforce existing ordinances.

The goal, she said, would be to return to the City Council with possible code changes, enforcement strategies and efforts to raise awareness among those ignorant of the laws.

Sound ideas. All of them.