City Council Kills Revised Noise Ordinance
Casper City Council silenced a proposed revised ordinance about vehicle noise by voting it down unanimously on first reading Tuesday night.
Twenty people spoke against it during an hour-and-a-half public hearing saying it was, at best, unnecessary and at worst a threat to their safety.
"We don't need another ordinance," said Stephen Wolosin, adding it would put another burden of enforcement on an already overworked police force,
Before the public hearing, City Attorney Bill Luben said the city had received noise complaints earlier in the summer.
"This isn't aimed at any particular vehicle," Luben said. The proposed revisions focused on rapid acceleration, squealing tires and noise in an effort to balance the interests of those who use the streets and public safety, he added.
Mary Lou Morrison was the only one to speak in favor of the revised ordinance. She's lived in the same house on East Third Street since 1963 and has heard a marked increase in noise at night from street racing on East Second Street.
While Luben said the revisions targeted all vehicles, motorcycle riders said they believed they targeted them.
Accountant Jim Porter, dressed in a suit, said he's the treasurer for four motorcycle groups.
Bikers are neighbors, citizens, veterans, taxpayers and voters. They, like most people, want a decent night's sleep, too, Porter said.
But the revised ordinance paints a broad brush over most of the riding community when the noisy street racers comprise a minority, he said. "People who do that are stupid."
Wolosin, and Paul Paad said local and state laws already cover noise issues such as horns and mufflers.
Others said the city needs to enforce the laws already on the books especially about speeding and texting while driving.
And a half-dozen of those who spoke said they want to be loud because that's the only way many motorists will know they're there. In other words, "Loud pipes save lives."
After the public hearing, council members complimented the audience for speaking.
Kenyne Schlager urged those in attendance to meet with Russell Reddick, who wants to restart the successful "pipe down in town" education campaign from several years ago that educated younger bikers and the general motoring public about traffic safety.
Reddick later said he hopes the campaign will resume. "Through education, awareness and interaction with our community is the only way we can bridge the gaps of ignorance."
Vice Mayor Daniel Sandoval recounted a personal experience of having to lay down his bike, and nearly totaled it, on Poplar Street near Interstate 25 after someone suddenly stopped in front of him. In a nod to the virtue of loud pipes, he said, "If you're in a collision with a car, you're going to lose."
Shawn Johnson and Ray Pacheco noted the proposed revisions came about because of a few obnoxious motorists and bikers, and the citizens who complained and deserve representation.
Mayor Charlie Powell said the council and the crowd were trying to make a good-faith effort to address a problem.
"If it doesn't get fixed, we'll go back to this," Powell said.