E: [email protected]
There is a proposed ordinance pending before the Talbot County Council that would remove the long-standing, never in dispute, maximum noise level cap of 55 db, letting it double, to 65 db.
Some see the intent of this new ordinance as encouraging bars and restaurants in the unincorporated parts of the County to use loud outdoor amplified music (DJ, karaoke, live) as an economic development tool. While outdoor amplified music can be good, making it excessively loud is contrary to the 2017 Tilghman Village Master Plan, and is detrimental to property enjoyment and value in close proximity to the noise source.
The group supporting leaving things the way they are, Citizens for Sustainable Communities, is in favor of more music, with greater frequency, but at reasonable levels that they define as the existing 55db.
NOTE: Tilghman restaurants and bars have a long history of serious problems with excessive amplified outdoor music. It has been illegal, by action of Talbot County itself, other than five times a year at one venue and an occasional event by permit at other locations. For the two years that it was legal and unrestricted at one venue in the 1980’s, it became excessive and took years of citizen and government efforts to curtail it. The new owners of those two venues, one lives out of the area and the other is from California and New York, want to raise the legal decibel limit so that they can do exactly what the previous owners were doing.
This noise level law is County-wide, except in incorporated towns that are permitted to set their own sound levels. St. Michaels has set higher levels for its commercial/industrial and high business-density places where high level sound will not carry long distances and impacts few residences. Oxford allows outdoor music by permit only. Both also have significantly more local law enforcement – the same number of officers on duty covering about one square mile as compared to the County’s 477 square miles. Cost effective enforcement is difficult for this rural county. Tilghman is at the far end of the county's enforcement reach, where laws are sometimes honored more in their breach.
CIA has donated this space for the Citizens for Sustained Communities to present FACTS is support of their position: more music, more often, at reasonable (55db) levels.
Music Is Beautiful(@ 55bdA outdoors)
Free Tilghman (From Sonic Home Invasion)
01. Executive Summary
02 Excepts from the Comprehensive Plan and Village Master Plan
03. Recommendation of Task Force's Sound Expert
04. Power of Different Sounds
05. Sound Facts
06. The Math of Sound: Logarithmic v Arithmetic
07. Decibel Levels of Common Noise Sources
08. Perceived Loudness of a Change in dbA Level
09. "C" Scale
10. Effects of Wind on Perceived Loudness
13.Example of Impact in Rural County
15. History of Tilghman Outdoor Music
16. Guidelines for Writing a Noise Ordinance
17.Amendments to Proposed Laws Needed
18. A Glossary of Sound Terms
"...the relaxing area of Tilghman Island...with a slow pace and laid-back charm...." Hey, Council! Dance with the one that brung ya (55db) and leave the 65db noise to the places that belong on other lists.
Proposed amendments have been posted:
Send emails, letters and phone calls to the Talbot County Council telling them to vote for keeping the lid on noise that impacts homeowners close to the noise source. Point out that there has been NO explanation of why doubling the sound (65dg doubles it) is needed.
At the recent public hearing on the new Noise Ordinance a speaker from Tilghman made unsupported and/or incorrect statements that seem to be rampant. Unlike true experts on the subject of sound, he made the important and multi-faceted nature of sound into a joke while missing the key issue of the relationship between the location of the source and power of a sound when initially created.
The initial power of sound is key to understanding the distance that sound will travel through a room or over land and water. Those who misunderstand this relationship of the power of the original sound with the distance often dismiss it as false (and a couple other speakers who followed did so as well); however, it is repeated so often that, for some, it becomes the argument made to support a higher noise limit. Many in the county are using the puppets and crayons level of explaining science by saying that 65 is ok because it is the same as the human voice. Well, first 65 is a loud voice (60 is more normal), but it is not at all the same level of noise as party music, if it were measured close to the source as the human voice is. If, as stated by the speaker and is correct, sound drops 6 dB for every doubling of distance from the source of the sound, the human voice will be 59 another 3 feet (total of 6 feet from the source) away, 53 at 12 feet and 47 at 24 feet away. In a hearing room packed with people the background noise was probably about 50 dB. A normal voice can’t be heard by the time it is probably 15 feet away from the speaker if the background, or ambient, noise overwhelms it. The human voice doesn’t start very loud, is not powerful, and disappears quickly. That explains his joke.Yet, music often starts loud. We all have experienced this. Typically, a residential neighborhood in Talbot County may have background noise of about 35 dB or less in the evening. Dance floor or party music will be measured a distance from the source – the property line. If it has decreased 6 dB over say 100 feet to be 65, it will have to travel 3,200 feet to become 35 dB like your normal background sounds and disappear. It will travel over water twice as far. At 1,600 feet it will still be clearly noticeable to you – filling your room. It is not your noise, it is someone else’s noise competing with your TV, your music, your reading, your sleep, your peaceful evening looking at the stars and wildlife, you dinner table conversation with friends, and is part of your life. You can’t make it go away because you don’t control it. The music will have arrived in incomplete pieces and not be pleasant music, even if you like the type of music. Articles and illustrations of what science tells us about sound, and the testimony and recommendations the sound expert hired by the County's pro-noise Task Force appear on the Facebook page of Citizens for Sustainable Communities. Visit it to learn.The speaker at the public hearing then proceeded to say that he speaks for the “overwhelming majority” of Tilghman-- indeed, representing “90% of the Island’s population”--and that that his majority wants 65 dB. This is not true, though there certainly is a bloc for 65, Tilghman is very divided on this matter and as people are becoming educated, more and more of the pro-65 people are beginning to question it. The so-called "majority" were deliberately misled by the use of form letters and petitions describing the virtues of outdoor, amplified, music "at a reasonable level". "Reasonable" is what people agreed with, but with no definition of what that means.
This isn’t about Tilghman alone. This is a County-wide issue. A higher allowable noise limit will impact many citizens and they are speaking out.
Citizens for Sustainable Communities’ can help you understand. They can answer questions. Most of them enjoy music with meals at restaurants. Raucous, loud outdoor bar music is not necessary. The red-herring that it must be above 55, or as the Wylder Hotel owner said at the hearing, "anything I want it to be" in order to "Free Tilghman” has not yet been explained or justified in any way by anyone. They clearly don't even know what 55 or 65 or "anything I want" sounds like.
The Council is made up up smart people. They are getting it. It was a good night for the Citizens for Sustainable Communities. It is still important that we all make our voices heard. Music is beautiful. Noise isn't. The details are in the decibels.
Just because you don't live in the noise proximity, don't walk away from being a good citizen. There is NO difference between two venues that used to be considered nuisances by 90% of Tilghman and what the two new out-of-towners operating the same two venues in Tilghman are seeking the right to do again. Support your neighbors who will have the same problem they have had in the past when loud outdoor music was going on. You might need their support someday.
CSC is a PRO-BUSINESS, pro-outdoor music, coalition of people who want to see the historic nature, culture, economy, livability, and reputation of Talbot County sustained. There is a proposal before the Council with the possibility of a vote on August 28, that could endanger, even destroy, one or more of our treasured attributes by lifting the noise level cap of 55 db for a few businesses self-interests.
This page was created to provide the public with our point of view, support it with factual information, and to correct misinformation.
If you disagree with eliminating the present and historic noise cap so the limit until 10:00 PM becomes to the very maximum allowable under Maryland State law, let these decision-makers know.
Talbot County CouncilPh. (410) 770-8001Fax (410) 770-8007
Council member email addresses:Dirck K. Bartlett, [email protected]Chuck F. Callahan, [email protected]Corey W. Pack, Vice President, [email protected]Laura E. Price, [email protected]Jennifer L. Williams, President, [email protected]