By Laura Alys Ward
A controversial noise ordinance proposal will be addressed at a public hearing in the town of Franklin on Tuesday.
Some residents, including the town supervisor, called the ordinance too restrictive, while others said they support it because of problems with noisy neighbors.
The proposal outlaws noise made by things including voice, musical instruments, radio, machinery, vehicles and discharging of weapons for more than one hour on any day.
It also outlaws "noise on any street, sidewalk or public place adjacent to any school, institution of learning or church" while the building is in use.
If the proposal is adopted, violators could face a fine of $350.
Franklin town board members asked Code Enforcement Officer Paul Robinson to draft the proposal after a group of residents from the vicinity of Carey and Tupper Hill roads who complained about incessant weekend target shooting.
Neighborhood residents said two men and their sons practiced shooting at a Carey Road property for about five or six hours every Sunday over the summer. The men are from New York City and stay at the Franklin home on weekends, neighbors said.
David Plance, who lives on the corner of Tupper Hill and Carey roads, called the hours of shooting excessive and irritating.
Plance said his family and six others in the neighborhood are among residents supporting a noise ordinance.
"(The shooters) totally ignore the fact that they have neighbors," he said Thursday. "I challenge anyone to sit there and listen to it."
By the sound of it, they expel thousands of rounds of ammunition, Plance said.
Neighbors twice called the police, who responded, but found no violations of law, residents said.
But not all neighborhood residents back the proposal.
Robert Hazlette, who lives on nearby Olin Evans Road, called some of the language "ludicrous," particularly the section restricting noise to an hour.
"It needs better definition," he said.
Many townspeople are "up in arms," Hazlette said.
Petitions against the proposal are circulating, residents said.
Plance, a Franklin resident of 14 years, said he would fully support the ordinance if it allows for noise by farm equipment and machinery necessary to sustain a livelihood.
However, town Supervisor Donald M. Smith said he doesn't support it.
"I'm against government legislation if we can get along without it," he said Thursday. "Very seldom does a town this size have (a noise ordinance)."
Robinson based the proposal on other ordinances, Smith said.
No vote has been scheduled, he said.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the town hall.
Smith said several residents have approached him to complain about the proposal.
"I've heard enough rumbling so I know there's dissatisfaction in the town," he said.