New Hampshire

NH Town Considers Mandatory ‘Quiet Hours'

It sounds like a rule at a college dorm — "Quiet hours from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m." — but it's actually a noise ordinance proposal being considered in a small New Hampshire town.

You can barely hear the birds chirping in Newington. Even the playgrounds are quiet, and the only time traffic slowed down was to let a family of turkeys cross the road.

"Newington is a quiet town," admitted Police Chief Michael Bilodeau.

"The residential area is very, very quiet," said Newington Selectman Ted Connors.

So why would Connors help draft a noise ordinance that calls for quiet hours in town?

"The people asked for it," he answered.

He says some residents have complained about late-night noise.

"Dirt bikes, snowmobiles late at night, and some loud music," Connors explained.

Jordana Wyman has lived in town for 25 years and chuckled at the thought that maybe she and her six siblings were part of the problem.

"We like to stay entertained outside," she said. "Dirt biking, four wheeling, snowmobiling in the winter."

In the summertime, she admits night swimming can get rowdy.

"We have a diving board, the splash might get loud," Wyman said, laughing.

If the town adopts the proposal, residents could face a fine of $50 to $150 if they're found to have caused "excessive or unnecessary" noise, like handling trash cans, playing music or operating heavy machinery during the restricted hours.

"My suggestion to officers is give them a warning first and then if it continues, address it and give them a summons," Chief Bilodeau said.

The complaints have only come from a fraction of Newington's 800 residents.

"A few," said Connors.

Those few are on a mission to make sure this quaint New England town stays that way.

There's a public meeting about the proposal on Monday night. Selectmen will then decide to amend the proposal or keep it as is.

Connors says they will likely vote on it within a few weeks.

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