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Noise regs on council's to-do list

Despite a vote on Monday unanimously approving holiday restrictions for construction work hours, it appears the Port Orchard City Council is nowhere near done overhauling the city’s noise ordinance.

In response to citizen complaints, the council opted to add language to its existing noise ordinance limiting construction work on holidays to the same hours mandated on weekends. The amendment listed nine federal holidays and said construction couldn’t start before 8 a.m. or last past 9 p.m.

That relatively simple change, however, prompted an outpouring of additional suggestions from many on the council.

Councilwoman Rita DiIenno said she supported taking the restrictions even further and making a handful of the listed holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day — no-work days. Citing comments previously made by concerned residents, she said any construction work done on those holidays would likely be unnecessarily disruptive.

Councilman Rick Wyatt, who in the past has championed construction companies’ right to work, threw his support behind DiIenno’s suggestion but other council members weren’t sure a formal vote was a good idea at that point.

Councilman John Clauson suggested sending the change back to committee for discussion and Councilwoman Carolyn Powers asked whether the council was being prejudiced by assuming its residents would only want peace and quiet on Christian holidays.

“That’s such a good question I’m going to withdraw my motion,” DiIenno said.

Councilman Ron Rider, however, also thought a few changes to the music portion of the ordinance were in order. He proposed changing the ordinance to allow outdoor music to be played downtown until 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, May through September.

Although he no longer owns Harborside Bar and Grill, Rider in the past had numerous disputes with the city and law enforcement officials over his desire to host outdoor bands at the bar during the summer.

“I had a business that suffered financially for reasons regarding the noise,” Rider said.

He also wanted the whole ordinance overhauled to take out the word “particularly.” Rider said the term was too vague to be enforced and really made no clear distinction between nighttime and daytime restrictions.

“It just seems like kind of odd language to me,” he said.

Overwhelmed by the mass of changes it was being asked to consider, the council voted unanimously to send everything except the original proposed holiday restrictions back to committee for a thorough review. The next batch of proposed changes is expected to come before the council’s public safety committee at its May 11 meeting.

The meeting is expected to begin at 5:30 p.m. and take place at City Hall.

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