By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Picture Butte will be getting new rules on noise in the town as an old bylaw is updated.
During their regular March 12 meeting, Picture Butte town council reviewed a potential noise bylaw. The Town’s current noise bylaw was passed in November 1993. During council’s Feb. 12 meeting, they instructed administration to draft a present a new noise bylaw.
Administration came back with a draft for a new noise bylaw, and asked for input on the changes. The some of the highlighted changes they wanted feedback on changes include:
– Section 2.5, which defines: “Nighttime” means the period beginning at 10:00 p.m. and ending the following day at: 7:00 a.m. if the following day is a weekday; or 8:00 a.m. if the following day is a weekend.
– Section 2.11, which defines: “Weekday” means any day other than a Sunday or holiday.
– Section 2.11, which defines: “Weekend” means Sunday and any other holiday.
– Adding in Section 7.1c: A person must not operate any motorized gadget driven by an internal combustion engine of any kind in a Residential Development during the nighttime.
– Amending section 7.3 to read: A person who owns, occupies or controls a truck-tractor or tractor-trailer must not at any time allow it to remain running for longer than 20 minutes when it is stationary in a Residential District.
– Amending Section 9 to read: Notwithstanding any other provision of this bylaw, where an open area is provided for parking of patrons or employees in connection with a retail store, office, or medical and health facility, the owner or person in charge of the parking area, and making no more noise than is reasonably necessary in connection therewith may use a machine for clearing snow or debris from that open area during such hours as is necessary or expedient to keep that area clear of snow and debris.
“Obviously, it is a draft so you can give direction in regards to anything in the bylaw,” said Keith Davis, CAO for the town, adding that the drafted bylaw resembles the City of Lethbridge’s noise bylaw.
Referring to section 7.3, Jones suggested just eliminating that section, as the town does not allow any truck-tractors or tractor-trailers in residential districts, but as the noise bylaw is written, they would be allowing up to 20 minutes of idling in residential districts.
“I think this shouldn’t be in our bylaw at all. We don’t allow them in residential areas period,” said Cathy Moore, Picture Butte mayor.
Coun. Joe Watson wondered if it would be okay if they were on their own driveway. Davis said he would have to check on that, as he believed that the town has ‘No Truck’ signs on their residential streets, with the exception of Rogers Ave and the Highway.
“I was not saying park on the street, but if they wanted to drive up on their driveway and leave their truck over night, I mean we can’t stop them from parking on their own driveway if they’re not making noise,” said Watson. “They’re no different then a motor home or anything like that on a driveway.”
Coun. Cynthia Papworth asked the town was going to start specify what weight of truck can park, noting that some trucks can get very big.
Davis said that this would only apply to semi-trucks and trailers, and at the very least, recommended changing the language. He said the main issue with them was weight, and he would look into it further and get back to council.
Watson asked about a section in the bylaw that wasn’t changed. Section 5.1 reads “Nothing in this bylaw shall prevent the continual operation or carrying on of an industrial activity where the activity is one which: a) is a permitted use; or b) is an approved discretionary use; or c) is a non-conforming, but not illegal, use as defined in the Municipal Government Act”.
Section 5.2 reads “In the operation or carrying on of an industrial activity, the person operating or carrying on that activity shall make no more noise than is necessary in the normal method of performing or carrying on that activity”.
“What that is saying is if a company is in an industrial area, and if they’ve a permitted use or discretionary use or a permit allowing the use, then they’re allowed to carry on their operation regardless of this bylaw, well, not regardless of the bylaw, but regardless of the restrictions placed on residential districts,” said Davis.
“The current bylaw says ‘Any noise, anywhere, admitting from anyplace outside of the hours is in contravention’.
“The permitted use is in reference of the land-use bylaw. So if a property is zoned industrial, and they come in and in the land-use bylaw says they can put in a tire shop, then it’s as a permitted use under the land-use bylaw, then I can write a development permit, then they can carry on their activity in that area. It’s the same as a discretionary use, approved discretionary use or a non-conforming, which is a grandfathered-in permit.”
Council passed a unanimous motion to direct administration to amend the drafted noise bylaw and to bring the noise bylaw back to council for first reading.