FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Dogs and roosters, you’re on the clock. Fort Worth’s city council passed changes to its noise ordinance Tuesday night. It includes specific decibel limits for day and night time noise, as well as a time limit for animals who are a bit too vocal.
The new rules limit noise to 80 decibels during the day in all non-residential and business districts. That’s about the volume of a vacuum cleaner. The level drops to 70 dB, between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The central business district, Trinity uptown and West 7th village area get an extension until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Residential limits are even lower, 70 dB during the day and 60 dB at night. Noise above that limit would have to last at least 30 seconds to be a violation. It carries a $500 fine.
While the new rules set out specific limits, they don’t actually have to be measured in order for the city to issue a violation. “Unreasonably loud noises” are still open to enforcement. Speakers and bullhorns on the road fall into this category. Animals do too. There is a 10 minute limit now on barking and crowing. Construction work is now allowed on Sundays, but can’t go on after 8 p.m.
The changes may bring relief to some minor complaints, but some residents said they seem usless.
“They need to come and listen to this every once in a while, see what its really like,” said Deborah Martinez, who lives off of 8th Street. Martinez and her neighbors have pleaded with the city for years to help them with noise from a loading operation that started in an old railyard west of their homes.
“When you hear this explosion, random times during the day, and your windows shake, you really think that a bomb has gone off,” said Lisa Logan.
The old ordinance had limits on train whistles, and unloading vehicles. The new one specifically erased any references to trains. City staff said Tuesday that federal rules governed trains and they could not be bound by city ordinance.
The new ordinance allows several other specific exemptions, including noise from school property, from the Texas Motor Speedway, and from any government body.