Some residents wonder whether life is getting a bit too noisy on those rural roads of Aurora.
Councilman David Thomason is making noise about a potential noise ordinance in the town but outside the Village of East Aurora.
"It's the problem you face with quality-of-life issues," Thomason said Monday during the Town Board's work session. "Once summertime hits, it will get even worse."
Thomason is working with Town Planning Board member Richard Glover to study a proposal to bring back to the Town Board for review. The intent is to alleviate recurring complaints of loud music throughout sections of the town, though Tannery and Bailey roads were specifically mentioned.
"It might entail us buying a sound meter and setting decibel levels," said Thomason, who lives in the village.
Previous efforts to enact a noise ordinance in the Aurora area have failed because of a lack of support. The town plans to study noise ordinances adopted by other communities such as Buffalo, West Seneca, Cheektowaga, Hamburg and Sloan.
Police Chief William Nye, whose department covers the town and the village, gave the idea a mixed review when questioned Monday night.
"I'm on the fence when it comes to a noise ordinance," Nye said in an interview. "It's not that they can't be useful. I think it's how you use them. And if you have one, then you need to have the equipment to enforce it."
While police can issue tickets for disorderly conduct to those playing loud music, Nye said, it has rarely been done. Officers usually try to use a common-sense approach and first try to talk with those complaining and those who are playing loud music past a reasonable hour.
Thomason said he is not looking to offer a noise ordinance that would be rigid after the first offense. He suggested perhaps a police warning after the first complaint, followed by a Town Court summons after subsequent complaints have been filed, with perhaps a $20 fine imposed.
It is important for police or the code enforcement officer to "have something to enforce after subsequent (calls)," Thomason said.
Councilman Jeffrey Harris was cool to the idea. "It's supposed to be a free country, and the more we keep telling people what to do, . . . next they'll make me take my mufflers off my motorcycle," Harris said. "Soon we'll have to change our song to 'land of the strict.' "
Further complicating the enforcement issue is that once residents are aware that police are in their neighborhood, the noise immediately quiets, Nye said. "These are quality-of-life issues; they're very hard to police."