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Howell council tables introduction of new noise ordinance

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HOWELL – The Howell Township Council has tabled an ordinance that would, if introduced and adopted, repeal an existing noise ordinance based on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) model ordinance and replace it with the state model ordinance.

The ordinance was scheduled to be introduced at the council’s Jan. 21 meeting, but after public comment the legislation was tabled.

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Resident Marc Parisi, whose home on Castle Court has been affected by noise generated by the Xscape Theatres Howell 14, Route 9, for several years, addressed the issue during public comment.

“I guess you guys are not surprised that noise is on the agenda and I am up here … what’s all the noise about, right?” he said.

During his attempts to deal with the noise issue at his home, Parisi informed council members that Howell has no way of enforcing its current noise ordinance.

Parisi settled a complaint in state Superior Court in July 2019 with the property manager and AAM Mill, LLC, which developed the shopping plaza that includes the Xscape Theatres, for $125,000.

At the Jan. 21 council meeting, Parisi said he had concerns about the action Howell’s elected officials were preparing to take.

“I have real concerns about the introduction of this proposed ordinance and whether or not it is lawful. By way of background, from 1978 to 2017, before the council adopted the model noise ordinance, we had a local ordinance on the books that was enforceable through the township by our code enforcement (personnel), that had a ‘plainly audible’ provision, and we had no problem with the enforcement of that ordinance,” he said.

Parisi suggested reinstituting the previous ordinance which he said “had a preamble that talked about the health and welfare of the public that is absent from the proposed ordinance tonight.”

In October 2017, council members adopted a noise ordinance that was more in line with the DEP’s model noise ordinance. Parisi said officials struggled to find a mechanism to enforce the law and he said Howell did not have an individual who was trained and certified to state standards.

Parisi said Howell has never entered into an agreement with Monmouth County or another municipality to enforce the noise ordinance.”

“We pay a lot of taxes to the Monmouth County Health Department. They should probably be entering into a shared services agreement with us to enforce our local noise ordinance,” he said.

Mayor Theresa Berger and Councilman John Bonevich told Parisi he would be pleased with the council’s planned course of action.

“Mark, we are going to make you very happy. … We are talking with our professionals and we are talking with our code enforcement (personnel) and our police, and we are going to look out and see what the courses are to enforce (the ordinance) ourselves,” Bonevich said.

Following the discussion, the council members voted unanimously to table the ordinance.

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