CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – How late in the day can homeowners mow their lawns? Can landscaping work be done on a Sunday? How early can businesses begin unloading trucks? What happens when that business abuts a residential property?
When it comes to Lewisboro’s noise ordinance, the devil is in the details.
Following up on a resident’s complaint that his commercial neighbor was being too noisy too early in the morning, the Lewisboro Town Board decided the time was right to review its “inconsistent” code.
The goal? Striking a balance between the needs of businesses and the quality of life of residents.
“We live in a bucolic community and people are entitled to their peace and quiet,” said Councilman John Pappalardo. At the same time, he said, it’s important to be “business-friendly.”
The biggest challenge lies with residential properties that abut commercial properties.
For example, Councilman Tony Goncalves said, a resident who works late nights and lives next to a commercial property complained about work being done at 7 a.m.—an hour before he thought such activity was allowed. But, Goncalves said, the code only forbids the unloading of commercial vehicles before 8 a.m., meaning the business has the legal right to do other noisy work before then.
“That’s where there’s a discrepancy,” Goncalves said. “We need to tighten that up.”
Though a revised ordinance is still in the discussion stage, Pappalardo said he is “confident” the board will approve an amended version of the code.
“We’re evaluating the ordinance with an eye toward trying to make it equitable for the business owner and the homeowner,” Pappalardo said. “That’s the balance we’re trying to strike.”
But even if such a balance is struck, there is still a question of enforcement.
The most effective regulations are unambiguous and easily enforceable, which can be difficult when dealing with a nuanced issue such as noise, the councilmen said. Covering all possible scenarios while satisfying both homeowners and businesses is the board’s ambitious task.
Pappalardo encouraged residents to email board members and come to Town Board meetings, where they will be able to share ideas. If the board plans to discuss the noise ordinance, it will be placed on its agenda beforehand.
Contact information and agendas can be found on the town’s website, lewisborogov.com.