State denies North Brunswick noise ordinance revisions again

Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK — Officials are confused and disappointed as to why the state has denied a new set of revisions to the township noise ordinance.

The township submitted its most recent revisions in late May in response to a prior denial by the state. The proposed ordinance would change the time that yard maintenance can begin from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. seven days a week for both residents and contracted lawn services. Construction activity may begin at the current allowable time of 8 a.m. on Saturdays, but the weekday start time, according to the township’s revisions, would be moved from 7:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. Contracted construction is not allowed on Sundays.

For other noise issues such as calls about disturbances, officials agreed that noise complaints would be measured after 9 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and after 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. The standard of noise would be lowered from 65 to 50 decibels.

Two months ago, Michael Hritz, the director of Community Development, said officials had not received specific reasons why the first ordinance was denied by the state, but the revised ordinance was a balance of compliance and homegrown rules.

“We want our own hours that suit our residents in our town,” Councilwoman Cathy Nicola said.

Instead, officials grappled with the second denial during the July 27 council workshop meeting. Hritz said that the state expects all 565 municipalities to follow a uniform ordinance, although only about 100 towns have done so thus far.

“Every reason they gave you is asinine,” Councilman Carlo Socio said. “It makes no sense, and we don’t appreciate them telling us how to run our town.”

“I think the very fact they don’t have a rational reason other than it’s stupid and it makes it easier for them … should count for something,” added Councilwoman Shanti Narra.

Hritz said that the township can still choose to instill its own ordinance, albeit cautiously.

“The perceived risk is, if we issue a violation and it is litigated and challenged, a litigator who is aware of the state model will litigate we are not approved by the state, and will inhibit successful litigation,” he said.

Township Attorney Ronald Gordon said that if someone challenges the ordinance strongly enough and took the issue to the county law division or the appellate court, the township could have difficulty fighting it, but “the chances are slim.”

The ordinance will be brought forth for discussion for the September council meeting.

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