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New Berkeley County noise ordinance in place to better address complaints

A woman's ear, listening

Photo: Getty Images

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office says they’re gotten hundreds of noise disturbance calls across the county this year.

That’s why there’s now a new ordinance in place to help crack down on these disturbances.

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Carli Drayton says the most common complaints are for loud music and loud vehicle exhausts. She says the sheriff’s office gets noise complaints daily across the county.

The new noise ordinance replaces the old one that was last implemented in 2009.

BCSO now defines noise as “any sound that is either loud, boisterous, unpleasant, unreasonable or that causes a disturbance of the public peace.”

Under this new ordinance, when a deputy responds to a call for service involving noise there are factors in place that allow that deputy to use their better judgement to determine if someone is in violation of the noise ordinance.

They’ll take into account things like volume and intensity, proximity to houses, duration and consistency of the noise and the time of day.

“I worked alongside County Council members and the staff from the Sheriff’s Office to create an ordinance that will benefit citizens.” Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said in a statement yesterday. “We have received complaints from all over Berkeley County about disturbances that are a result of noise. We will not overreach with the ordinance but instead we hope to improve our citizens quality of life. Deputies will enforce the noise ordinance but will simultaneously protect everyone’s constitutional rights.”

Councilman Tommy Newell serves the College Park and Sangaree neighborhoods. He says he hears lots of complaints about loud music coming from houses and home businesses and excessive car exhausts at night that wake people up.

He says he’s also heard music from night clubs about half-a-mile from homes.

Councilman Josh Whitley serves the Daniel Island area. He says he hasn’t heard many complaints there, but has heard about it being an issue in other parts of the county.

He says he doesn’t remember hearing any public comments against this new ordinance at the previous hearings.

According to the new ordinance, if you are convicted of a noise violation in Berkeley County, fines will range from $100 to $500 and you could face jail time of no more than 30 days.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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