Scottsdale citizens call for stricter rules on excessive noise

By Andrew Gesell | July 23, 2008

Express fear about limiting petition process
SCOTTSDALE – City council and mayoral candidates talked about implementing a noise ordinance and expressed fear about limiting the petition process at a Coalition of Pinnacle Peak (COPP) Scottsdale City Council forum last week.

Virtually all candidates expressed concern about controlling noise in neighborhoods. They had differing opinions about how to address the problem, however.

John Washington, a write-in candidate for mayor, said motorcycle noise on Friday nights on Scottsdale Road can be a nuisance. He wants noise rules enforced.

“It’s darned silly to have a dust-control ordinance and no noise ordinance in rural areas where noise can be intrusive,” he said. “It’s a matter of enforcing the laws.”

Mayoral candidate Jim Lane said the problem with the current dust control ordinance was lack of enforceability.

“It would be contentious to enforce when it gets down to decibel levels,” he said about any proposed noise ordinance.

Incumbent councilmen Ron McCullagh said he talked to the Scottsdale Police Chief and the City Manager about a noise ordinance when he was first elected to the council.

“People are now charged with disorderly conduct,” he pointed out.

Incumbent Councilwoman Betty Drake called noise problems an “enforcement issue” and said she would be open to revisiting implementation of a noise ordinance.

Council candidate Tom Giller is an advocate for a strong definitive noise ordinance.
“I would demand that it be enforced,” he said.

The candidates also discussed the filings of citizen petitions and whether or not the large number of filings bogs down staff and the council’s time.

Mayor Mary Manross pointed out the city’s charter allows for the filing of citizen petitions. She stated that one citizen filed 28 petitions in the last 18 months.

“It’s something we deal with but you have to respect the process,” she said.

Washington said petitions are a reflection of the way the community feels.

“Without them, it’s a way to pick off one neighborhood at a time” he said.

Candidate for mayor Jim Lane said the council needs to be careful not to direct its energies towards limiting petitions.

“In a democracy it’s not always easy. It can be a mess,” he said about one citizen filing many petitions.

“We are free to hear it but we don’t have to act on it,” he said. “It’s part of the process. I respect that and want to protect it.”

McCullagh says he doesn’t want to change the process because one person abuses it.
Councilwoman Drake called the filings of petitions a valuable process.

“Mr. Spiro has brought good issues to the city council,” she said.

“We get all kinds. We need to protect the process.”