Camden Herald Letters to the Editor Sept. 5

Sep 05, 2019

Thanks for supporting the returnable bottles and cans program

The Camden Lions Club would like to thank our community and summer visitors for their tremendous support this summer with the returnable bottles and cans program at the Camden, Hope, Lincolnville and Rockport transfer station, Mid-Coast Solid Waste.  The volume of returnables has increased substantially, and the Lions are so grateful for these gifts.

The Lions’ labor is free to the community and is part of our “we serve” personal mandate.  A crew of Lion volunteers goes to the transfer station early in the morning, twice a week, rain or shine, to sort and organize the returnables.

The Camden Lions Club community support includes donations for student scholarships, for feeding senior citizens in need, for individual sight and hearing problems and for various youth programs.

So, thank you so much for your trust and continued support of this Camden Lions’ Club work.

Peter Martin

King Lion


Camden Noise Ordinance

Several Select Board members have suggested that it may be time to reexamine the details of Camden’s noise ordinance. Since the ordinance was created back in 2015, it is worth revisiting its appropriateness.

No matter what quantitative standard is in place, some people will feel that it is overly restrictive while others will feel it is too lax. That it is why it is important to put such a standard in context.

Prior to its adoption in 2015, Camden had no objective standard and the acceptability of any noise level was simply a matter of opinion. Resolving disputes about noise levels proved to be unsatisfactory to everyone (those creating the noise, those hearing the noise and those responsible for enforcement. The present quantitative standard was adopted to avoid this completely subjective situation that proved to be impractical..

Our standard is part of Chapter VIII Part XII of the Police Ordinance which reads: 2.5 – Unacceptable Noise Levels: Any sound level exceeding 65 dBA when measured at the property line and persisting for five minutes or more between the hours of 11 p.m. and before 7 a.m. s prohibited unless a permit has been obtained for a specific event.

The current 65 dBA night time standard adopted by Camden was chosen after extensive research into how other towns had dealt with the noise issue. Quantitative standards used by 22 Maine municipalities and 11 towns beyond Maine were examined in detail. In addition, the police department made hundreds of actual night time measurements with calibrated instruments at key locations in Camden. We chose our standard to be consistent with this research and not too restrictive and to enable easy monitoring.

In contrast to many of these towns, we chose not to have separate daytime and nighttime standards. Instead we addressed only the night time standard. No town standard we found had a night time standard begin later than 11 p.m., to avoid disturbing nearby people’s sleep.

Also, we chose not to have a low level standard for residential zones, an intermediate level for commercial zones, and the highest allowed noise levels in industrial zones, as most municipalities have done. We adopted a single level appropriate for a commercial zone and made it apply to all Camden zones. This was felt to be a good initial version of a noise ordinance that was not overly burdensome and could be easily revised in the future as required.

Camden’s standard is 10dBA more lenient that the average of levels allowed in the commercial zones of the 33 towns in the study. This allows noises about twice as loud to the human ear as in the other towns.

Finally, it is important to know both how and where the noise level is measured

All the town standards stipulate that the noise level is to be measured at the property line of the noise source. This is crucial, because the noise level drops significantly as the distance from the source increases. If 65 dBA were measured on Chestnut street (45 ft from Cuzzie’s property line), the level at the property line would be nearly 90 dBA, or 25 dBA above the allowed level, clearly not in compliance.

The measured level should be averaged over a 5 minute period. This does not mean that the noise level must be above the standard at every instant during that 5 minutes to be excessive. Rather, if the noise level is above the standard for a significant portion of the interval, it is excessive. Otherwise, pulsing car alarms all night would pass.

Taking all this into account, there does not seem to be any valid basis for concluding that the Camden noise standard is overly restrictive or needs to be increased. Quite the opposite, Camden’s standard is particularly lenient compared to the standards in most of the other towns in the research.

With Respect,

Dennis McGuirk


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