ONTARIO — Despite having a noise ordinance in place in Ontario, citizens have no specific form or template to make a formal complaint. This was one of many issues raised at the Ontario City Council meeting on Wednesday regarding the city’s current noise ordinance.
Councilman Freddy Rodriguez discussed how he has received numerous complaints from citizens regarding the noise in their neighborhoods and how to address the problem. Most of the complaints are references to loud music being played on the weekends.
Referring to the current city wide noise ordinance, Rodriguez said, “I’m hearing what we have now isn’t working.”
He also spoke about how the noise being complained about currently is measured at the house of the person complaining. Rodriguez said how the constituents he’s spoken to think this is unfair.
Police Chief Steven Romero then shared his insight explaining that use of a possible “educational campaign” may be the way to go. He outlined a plan that included sending a written statement of the noise complaint to the responsible party in lieu of a verbal warning from an officer because, in his experience, people respond to written warnings more often than spoken ones.
Romero went on to say if a second notice was sent to the responsible party, it would become a sanctionable offense, which can include a court appearance. If a third notice is sent, he said it will be state law that will be invoked rather than local ordinance.
Oregon State Statutes has an entire section, Chapter 467, devoted to noise control.
Romero drew attention to Section E of the current ordinance and informed the council that despite looking for a form or template allowing a citizen to make a noise complaint, one does not exist. According to this finding, the public has no way to file a noise complaint formally. This leads to citizens asking many questions on how to get assistance as it pertains to a noise ordinance complaint.
City Council President Dan Capron, said when he made a complaint to local law enforcement about his own neighbors, dispatch gave him differing answers as to what time the noise had to stop. These times ranged from 11 to 11:30 p.m.
However, “We have noise all the time,” Capron stated.
The council has decided to explore options for updating the noise ordinance, particularly as it relates to the need for complaint forms to be made available to the public whether by physical copy or online.
No decision was made during the meeting, but the matter was tabled until a future date.