What is being done about a Jefferson County noise ordinance? That’s the question Blake Schaat had for county commissioners Oct. 15.
Schaat, a paralegal who lives near wedding venue LaBelle Lake, approached commissioners in June to ask them to implement a noise ordinance.
Hancock said the ordinance is currently being reviewed. He said county attorney Weston Davis has reviewed it but it would still need to be reviewed by the sheriff. Hancock said commissioners wanted the sheriff to look over the ordinance because he would be the one enforcing it.
“I understand that, but to call — or send out notice, do you need the sheriff?” Schaat said.
Hancock said yes, they would need the sheriff because to send out notice, they would need a draft of the ordinance. Schaat said from his understanding, commissioners did not need sheriff approval.
Schaat said the commissioners did not need the sheriff’s approval to sign off on an ordinance.
“You don’t need him to, but we would like to have him sign off on it,” Commissioner Roger Clark said.
Schaat said he was frustrated with the time it was taking for commissioners to create a noise ordinance. He asked why the sheriff was not available to provide his input. Sheriff Steve Anderson was not present or called at any point during the meeting. Hancock said Davis was currently heading over to speak with the sheriff. Schaat said commissioners should call him.
“There’s a lot of frustrated people here, me being one of them, that it’s taking this long, and if it’s just the sheriff holdup, and you’ve got the attorney over there, I don’t see what the big deal is to get him on the phone right now, and to ask him ‘What’s the holdup?’” he said.
Hancock said the noise ordinance was not a final draft and indicated he did not want to rush the process along before the sheriff had had time to review it. He said commissioners needed to consider the wants and needs of the entire county, not only portions of it.
“You are looking at it from your perspective because of what happens out there,” Hancock said. “We have to look at it from a county-wide, how does this ordinance affect the whole county?”
Hancock said an ordinance is useless unless the sheriff could enforce it. When Schaat asked again what the hold-up with the sheriff was and when he could expect an answer, Hancock said he could not guarantee there would be an answer from the sheriff in the next ten minutes.
“We’re not going to make a commitment here in this meeting, at this time, until we have had this fully discussed with the sheriff … We have told you it’s being reviewed and it’s still being reviewed, that’s all I can tell you,” Hancock told Schaat.
Schaat said that was not good enough.
“These answers are unacceptable for our community,” he said.
At that, Davis returned to the meeting. Schaat asked what the sheriff had said, since Hancock had said Davis was meeting with the sheriff. Davis said he had not managed to speak with the sheriff, having only made it part way. Turning back to commissioners, Schaat asked what deadline he should pass on to his community. Hancock said commissioners were interested in a noise ordinance and would speak with the sheriff within the next two weeks.
Schaat said he had been informed everyone was in agreement on the noise ordinance. Hancock said everyone had the ordinance, but said that did not mean it had been approved or that everyone was in agreement.
When asked for his thoughts, Davis said he felt Schaat was not showing enough respect to the commissioners.
“I guess I’m frustrated by your animus and tone with the commissioners,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of people that want a lot of laws, and they’re passionate about pushing those in, but also being patient about having those laws running by the proper committees.”
Schaat said he had “hand-fed” commissioners an ordinance and said he thought the county should have a noise ordinance by now. Commissioner Shayne Young said commissioners appreciated the ordinance Schaat provided, but said it needed reviewed by the sheriff and planning and zoning.
Schaat said he would be on the agenda for next week. Hancock said unless the commissioners had more information, Schaat would not be on the agenda, since commissioners control the content of meetings.
Outside of the meeting, Anderson said he did not have much to say about a potential noise ordinance. As of Oct. 16, he said he has not reviewed one.
“The bottom line is, if they get (a noise ordinance), we’ll enforce it,” he said.