About 100 people, mostly from the northern end of Stevens County, shouted down a noise-control ordinance requested by suburban residents of the county’s southern end.
County commissioners scrapped the proposed ordinance after it received overwhelming opposition in a public hearing Wednesday. They directed county officials to write a new proposal from scratch.
Commissioner Fran Bessermin said the proposal presented Wednesday, which was copied from Spokane County, caused too much confusion.
She said some of the opposition came from a Colville-area woman who uses her home as a dog shelter and was concerned that the ordinance was aimed at barking dogs. Loggers also feared they would be shut down for making too much noise, and some people contended the proposal was unconstitutional, Bessermin said.
“They referred to a lot of the things that were excluded,” Commissioner J.D. “Andy” Anderson said. “That’s what I can’t believe.”
For example, he said some people were concerned that they would be prohibited from firing their guns even though shooting - like dogs - was specifically exempted in the proposed ordinance. People apparently misread the exemptions as a list of things targeted by the law, he said.
Bessermin said the ordinance was aimed only at loud parties, stereos and similar disturbances in suburban settings.
She said some people contended neighbors should resolve their noise disputes among themselves. But Sheriff Craig Thayer said regulations are needed to prevent violence when neighbors are unable to work out their disagreements.
Anderson said he favors limiting the regulations to the Long Lake area, where more than 150 people petitioned for noise controls. However, Bessermin said the Deer Lake Property Owners Association also has called for an ordinance, and other heavily developed areas may need controls as well.