Alamosa educates public on ‘unreasonable noise’
OBNOXIOUSLY noisy cars with modified exhaust systems has Alamosa City Hall reaching out to help educate the public on city ordinances and possible penalties. The city last week issued a public communication in response to concerns from its Main Street Advisory Council and some residents about the public nuisance of “unreasonable noise.”
“Many of the complaints are focused on vehicles that have modified their exhaust system with the effect being loud. Those making these modifications may not realize that they are in violation of two City ordinances,” the city said in a press release. It then outlined the city laws that regulate excessive noise.
“The first is Ordinance 14-71, which states:
‘With regard to the operation of motor vehicles, unreasonable noise shall include, but not be limited to: the continuous or repeated sounding of any horn or signal device of a motor vehicle, except as a danger signal. The operation of any motor vehicle in a manner which causes excessive noise as a
result of an unlawful, defective or modified exhaust system, or as a result of unnecessary rapid acceleration, deceleration, revving the engine or tire squeal.’
“The second is Section 225 of the Model Traffic Code, which states:
‘Every motor vehicle subject to registration and operated on a highway shall at all
times be equipped with an adequate muffler in constant operation and properly maintained to
prevent any excessive or unusual noise, and no such muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cut-off, bypass, or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise emitted by the motor of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and such original muffler shall comply with all of the requirements of this section.’”
What’s behind the communication
City Manager Heather Brooks hopes an educational message that conveys the fact Alamosa has laws to deal with the noise gets across. Better to educate than to have to actually use police resources on enforcement given much higher priorities for Police Chief Ken Anderson and city police.
Here’s the city manager explaining more in an email exchange with The Citizen:
“The driver of this education is based on several community inputs. The first is that over the past year there has been significant social media chatter about complaints about the loud noise and obnoxious vehicles. At a few Council meetings, we did have 1 or 2 residents include comments about the loud noise as part of their other council comments. More specifically, the Main Street Advisory Council has spent time discussing the nuisance and requesting that something be done. Many of the downtown businesses have experienced the noise and have had patrons complain. As City staff and Council Members have enjoyed the downtown and special events, they have witnessed first-hand the obnoxious vehicles and the impact on the surrounding crowds.
“I share that it is an educational item since these are not new laws/ordinances. They were already in existence and it is simply a matter of making sure residents are aware of them and that we intend to enforce them. Quite honestly though, we need everyone’s help on enforcement since our officers cannot be everywhere. We are acutely aware that there are large societal issues that we need to work on: substance use disorders, crime, housing, homelessness, mental health needs, early childhood care, etc. However, as we work on these large issues, we also want to be responsive to the community about other concerns they have such as, in this case, nuisance vehicles.”
The city reminds motorists that violation of either of the ordinances are subject to a ticket and fines. Repeated tickets and fines could also lead to community service, it said.
Here’s the rest of the city’s release:
“The city is taking these complaints seriously and if officers encounter a loud vehicle, they will engage in enforcement. However, we realize that our officers cannot be everywhere at once and therefore, the information below is offered for any observer of this nuisance to be able to report it. It will take our community working together to address this issue. If you witness a vehicle being excessively loud, here are the steps you should take.
- Contact Dispatch at the non-emergency phone number, 719-589-5807 to report. Do not call 911 to report non-emergency related incidents. You do not need to call immediately; you can call when it is convenient for you.
- If possible, get the license plate number of the vehicle as well as a general description.
- Video/photos are not necessary, but are helpful.
- You might be called into court to testify about what you heard/witnessed.
For questions, please contact the Alamosa Police Department at 719-589-2548. The City of Alamosa strongly encourages those who have modified their exhaust systems to recognize the nuisance it is creating as well as violating City ordinances and to take the initiative on correcting the situation.”