Pennington Council members are working on updating the borough’s noise ordinance and creating a good neighbor policy ordinance for lighting within the municipality following survey results and issues raised by residents.
During a council discussion on Sept. 6, Borough officials discussed updating time restrictions for use of landscaping equipment, lawnmowers and leaf blowers.
“As you know we received resident concerns about noise emanating from landscaping equipment, particularly, the gas-powered leaf blowers,” Mayor James Davy said. “We also received concerns about lighting in terms of a resident who is being impacted by a neighbor whose light was shining in their bedroom window at night and was looking at some type of ordinance relief.”
Borough officials conducted a noise and lighting survey, which garnered 243 responses.
“The concern over noise was really split between folks who were concerned about it and those who were not,” Councilwoman Kati Angarone said. “We had 58 percent of folks note that they were affected by noise and 53 percent of respondents were interested in some sort of restriction, but as for what those restrictions were there was really no consensus.”
The working committee that had been created with Davy, Angarone, and Council President Kit Chandler noted that the noise ordinance needed to be updated and clarification provided pertaining to landscaping noise.
Many of the respondents on noise favored discussions between neighbors in lieu of an ordinance, according to Angarone.
Other noises highlighted by responses to the survey included traffic, engine, breaking, mufflers, fire siren, music, sports games from local schools and early collection of trash.
For the lighting responses, 60% of respondents were concerned, 66% said they were impacted, 53% were in favor of an ordinance, and over 20 commentators noted that light should be pointed down, according to Angarone.
“It is worth noting that the borough already does have an ordinance that already covers commercial lights, but not residential and many noted that a nighttime restriction of certain decorative lights would be in order,” she said.
Angarone said there was no interest, however, from respondents in sacrificing safety to regulate lighting. Many suggested that “a good neighbor approach” might be the better and more favorable approach.
“We did do a little bit of further research on some communities and how they handled it. In California we saw that there was a very simple ordinance and I think it was Laguna Beach,” she said.
“[The ordinance] asked folks to communicate with their neighbors and offered them a sample letter first. Once that attempt has failed then you can come to the municipality for some help.”