Musicians exempt from anti-noise bill

September 09, 1993

Some budding musicians may be disappointed with the latest version of the county's proposed anti-noise ordinance: They won't be able to use it as an excuse to avoid practice.

The County Council has adopted an amendment excepting musical instruments from the bill, which would ban music or other noise that can be heard from 50 feet away in a residential area.

The amendment, proposed by Councilwoman Maureen Lamb and passed 4-3, was prompted by complaints from musicians and parents of musicians at a public hearing Tuesday night.

Juliann Swanson of Annapolis told the council she was concerned about getting a $50 ticket, the penalty for a first offense, for practicing her piano.

Jessie P. Wiseman of Arnold said her teen-age sons have a band that practices in her basement.

"We try our darnedest to keep the noise down," she said. "We have had complaints. We have complied when the officers come to the house. . . . I cannot afford to rent a hall so they can practice. I am trying to keep them off the streets."

The proposed law provides exceptions for several activities, including government functions, charity and school affairs, and farming activities.

Ms. Lamb's amendment would allow musical instruments to be played during daylight hours but would prohibit them between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Anyone playing extremely loud instrumental music could still be prosecuted under the statute for disturbing the peace.

Ms. Lamb said young people should be encouraged to play musical instruments.

The council will consider the bill at its next meeting on Sept. 20. Passage is considered likely.

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