The Neptune Police Department welcomed three new patrol officers Vincent Zenna, Kylee P. Jazikoff, and Marcus Neil. All had previously served as Special Law Enforcement Officers for the township. Pictured are (from left) Deputy Mayor Nicholas Williams, Committeewoman Tassie York, Jazikoff, Neil, Zenna, Mayor Michael Brantley, and Committeemen Robert Lane Jr. and Keith Cafferty.
By NEIL SCHULMAN
Following complaints this summer, Neptune is looking at tightening up its noise ordinances to deal with loud parties and its food truck regulations.
At this week’s workshop officials discussed the proposed changes, but they have not introduced proposals, both of which need work before they will be ready to be voted on.
The committee is planning to look at a variety of new noise-control ordinances, including possibly stopping all outdoor performances at 10 p.m.
In June, a resident complained about frequent party music and other loud sounds she could hear from the Headliner, even though she lived a couple of blocks away. Deputy Mayor Nicholas Williams and others checked it out and said that the noise really depended on the day. Sometimes the noise could be heard within half a block before he heard anything, and another evening, it could be heard on Albany Road, further than the resident who complained lived.
Township Attorney Gene Anthony has talked to the police department about the situation. “They have a lot of incident reports… but they don’t get a lot of actual noise complaints,” he said.
Part of the reason might be that the current noise ordinance’s wording strikes the police as vague and confusing, and hard to enforce. This is a common issue for noise ordinances, and Anthony said he has encountered it in other towns.
“It’s a difficult ordinance to enforce,” he said.
Unless you’re going to train and certify police officers to use decibel meters to measure the noise, a complicated process with its own legal issues, you may have debates about what is too loud.
“It’s not like stopping someone for speeding” which is easy to measure, Anthony said.
For places like the Headliner, which is in a commercial zone but borders on a residential zone, it can be even trickier. And when Neptune makes a general noise ordinance, it has an issue most towns don’t: Ocean Grove is completely privately owned, so the town needs to coordinate with the Camp Meeting Association to deal with issues there.
It’s not just clubs that are causing issues. Mayor Michael Brantley said a house in his neighborhood was being rented out, and you could hear the music two blocks away.
”When police were called and showed up once, they smelled marijuana and made several arrests,” he said adding that it didn’t stop future parties.
One proposed option, similar to what Asbury Park does is to prohibit all outdoor music after a certain time, such as 10 p.m.
Committeewoman Tassie York said that sounded like a simple solution. “I’m considering it. I didn’t know it was an option,” she said.