Ocracoke Island’s economy is nearly 100 percent based on tourism. During the peak season, sights and sounds of this economic carrier are in full view. But, under a proposed noise ordinance, island sounds such as a family laughing on a bike ride, a group of friends having a lively conversation on a porch, acoustic music from the docks, a destination-driven group celebrating a life event or a curator conducting an island tour, could all be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
On Monday, February 1, Hyde County Commissioners will vote on a proposed noise ordinance that will likely lead to criminal charges brought against visitors, residents and business owners. These legal ramifications will put undue stress on law-enforcement while creating a policed environment where fun is to be kept quiet at very unreasonable terms. In a small, tourism-based economy, these harsh rules would have untold effects on the livelihood of all residents and business owners and would certainly deter visitors from returning.
Ultimately, the sound of patrons talking and laughing while spending taxable dollars in Hyde County would be ILLEGAL. It’s simply unnecessary to implement harsh rules in an already volatile economy.
Under the proposed ordinance:
It will be violation to exceed noise of 55 decibels after 10 p.m. (Normal conversation levels are 55)
It will be violation to exceed noise of 70 decibels from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (A lawnmower is 90 decibels; motorcycle, 90; dishwasher, 80; and passenger car, 77
Measurements will be taken by law enforcement officials 25 feet from where the noise originates, representing an invasion of privacy and encroachment on personal property and space
Any violator, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and subject to a fine of $250 for the first offense and $500 for all subsequent offenses or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, and each day that any of these provisions is violated shall constitute a separate offense.
PLEASE HELP KEEP OCRACOKE’S TOURISM-BASED ECONOMY ALIVE.