By Sarah Richardson
Lewisburg City Council met this week to update the city’s noise ordinance, note positive feedback received about the city’s parks, and consider several funding requests.
Ordinance 309, which amends sections 509.01 and 509.99 of the codified ordinances of the City of Lewisburg, deals with disorderly conduct and peace disturbance. Lewisburg Police Chief Teubert explained, “We’ve just had multiple complaints of things like four-wheelers with no exhaust in the city, motorbikes with no exhaust, and things that weren’t covered under the previous ordinance. So I referred to [City Attorney] Tom [White], and we reviewed ordinances from other cities and updated ours to cover things that we were getting multiple complaints on. I believe barking dogs were one.”
Attorney White added that the penalties for such violations has also increased, giving them more “substance” to deter offenses. Penalties for violating the noise ordinance relating to general noise violations, motor vehicle noise violations, and violations from dwellings or businesses include fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for a second, $300 for a third, $400 for a fourth, and $500 for a fifth offense all within a 24-month period.
Language in the ordinance includes: “All motor vehicles, motorcycles, and motorboats shall be operated as quietly as possible at all times within the city,” “no person shall remove or render inoperative […] any muffler or sound dissipative device on a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or motorboat operated within the city,” and “no person shall use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device or similar device upon a motor vehicle or motorcycle operated within the city.”
The ordinance also states: “No person shall keep or harbor any dog, cat, fowl, or other animal, within the municipality which, by frequent and habitual howling, yelping, crying, squalling, crowing, barking, or otherwise, creates unreasonably loud and disturbing noises of such character, intensity, and duration as to disturb the peace, quiet, and good order of the municipality. Such animals are hereby declared a public nuisance.” If a call is made regarding nuisance animals, the police will notify the owners of the complaint and advise them to take “whatever steps necessary” to remedy the issue. If that is ineffective, then after a verified complaint from at least two citizens from separate households the police will inform the owners that a petition has been filed with a municipal judge, and may cite the owner for violations of the petition.
For those with animal noise violations, it’s a steeper fine of not more than $500, and states that “each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.”
The ordinance was approved unanimously by council.
Regarding public parks and other areas downtown, Councilmember John Little reported, “I can’t remember there ever being a time when people were so excited about the parks, and the way the city is maintaining them, then they are now. I hear people talk about everything from the new construction of the pickleball courts, which I know were a partnership, to the way they upkeep the park and all of the facilities. It sure makes people proud when they walk around and see our parks like that. When you go to other parks they don’t look like that in other cities. It’s really wonderful.”
In other news:
- Council met in executive session to discuss signing an updated agreement that will now include Allergan, CVS, Rite Aid, Teva, Wal-Mart in the ongoing opioid-related lawsuit. Council agreed to sign the new agreement at the recommendation of legal advisers.
- A proclamation declaring October as Pregnancy Loss and Awareness month within the city was passed unanimously.
- An Arts and Humanities funding request presented by the Lewisburg Downtown Businesses Association was tabled due to an incomplete application, and will be taken up at the next meeting of council upon receiving the necessary information.
- Council approved funding dedicated to annual physicals for members of the fire department that help scan for and catch cancer. The amount will not exceed $32,900, and was already allotted in the budget.
- At the recommendation of the Finance Committee, a video lottery funding request for $4,000 was approved for the Greenbrier East High School Marching Band. “This is a great opportunity to afford to these students some travel and some unforgettable life experiences,” said Councilmember Arron Seams.