County commission approves noise ordinance

Published 10:54am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dallas County drivers may want to roll up their windows and turn down the rap music.

The Dallas County Commission is considering introducing a noise-pollution ordinance. Selma and Orrville already have noise ordinance laws in place, but District 4 commissioner Larry Nickels said the county also should enact a noise ordinance — one with teeth in it.

At Monday’s commission meeting, Nickels made a motion to draft a noise ordinance that would include hefty fines for violators as a result of his constituents’ complaints. It was seconded by District 2 commissioner and approved unanimously, with one commissioner absent.

“At 12 o’clock at night you hear boom, boom, boom, you don’t know if it’s a storm, somebody has run into your house, shots being fired or what,” Nickels said. “I’ve had several Orrville residents call me last week about it. Not only is the noise terrible, but the language is terrible.”

Nickels said some residents has asked noise polluters nicely to turn down the music, but are met with aggression.

“They are offended,” he said. “They say ‘Just who do you think you are.”

The ordinance won’t go into effect immediately. Dallas County doesn’t have the authority to enact ordinances, like a municipality, Probate Judge Kim Ballard said. Current rule requires the proposal must be passed in the Alabama Legislature. After its passage, the ordinance will come back to the county commission for a second vote.

“We have a great working relationship with our legislative delegation, but it’s ridiculous for us to have to ask for state approval for something that is strictly a no-brainer,” Ballard said.

The drawn out process has led Ballard to consider asking for home rule for Dallas County on some matters. Complete home rule would allow Ballard and the commission to pass laws and ordinances as they see fit to better the county.

“I see where in matters of taxation or issues like that, the legislature would not give up that power and I wouldn’t ask them to,” he said. “Things like noise pollution and trash cleanup that make sense, I think eventually they will relent and give us that authority. We know the issues in Dallas County, but right now you have to go through the legislative process to enact any law.”

Editor's Picks