Editor’s note: Hyde County Manager Bill Rich sent the following letter to the island Friday afternoon. Several letters from islanders were attached and he will distribute these to the county commissioners at Monday’s 6 p.m. board meeting. After that, those letters will be posted on the Hyde County website.
Islanders will have a chance to air their views during the discussion of the ordinance before a vote is taken.
We have been battling how to regulate noise on our island for a long time. Right now the existing ordinance has a decibel reading of 70 db from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. year round, seven days a week. From 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. (the next morning) any noise which leaves one property and disturbed someone on another property is a violation of the ordinance. In the past when someone was disturbed they would call the sheriff’s office and a deputy would come and try to decide if in fact the ordinance was violated and if a summons and fine should be issued. This was very subjective and a burden to our county law enforcement.
In addition, there was a lawsuit filed between Ann Ehringhaus and Sean Death in which the superior court judge ruled that our existing ordinance could not be enforced in court criminally because it only had a civil penalty and thus also could not be enforced by our sheriff’s deputies for the same reason. Judge Wayland Sermons took me in his chambers and recommended we re-write the ordinance and impose specific readings and make it a misdemeanor and thus a criminal violation.
Attached is my recommended rewrite of the ordinance. Also attached is different correspondence concerning both sides of this issue.
This issue is huge for the future direction our community takes. We have been a close-it-down at 10 (unless you are indoors and not disturbing, like The Pub, Oyster Company and Gaffer’s) for as long as I remember, and it seems to have worked very well.
Please lend your opinion (and support, I hope) to this issue and respond back to me before Monday.