Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mayor Zimmer Announces Measures to Address Noise Concerns

From the City of Hoboken's Mayor's Office the latest on noise concerns and what is being done to address them......


On Wednesday, July 27th, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Councilwoman Theresa Castellano hosted a community meeting to discuss noise concerns with residents. In attendance were also various members of the Zimmer Administration including Police Chief Anthony Falco, Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs, Zoning Officer Ann Holtzman, and Deputy Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Mestre.

“I want to thank the community for coming out last night and providing their feedback on noise concerns,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Hoboken is a great community with more than 130 outdoor cafés, diverse retail shopping, unique cultural opportunities, and a vibrant nightlife, and we welcome everyone who wants to come here and enjoy themselves. All we ask is that residents, visitors, and business owners be courteous and respectful of their neighbors. My Administration is working on integrated measures to ensure the quality of life of all of our community.”

The four components include increased patrols, consistent enforcement, a simplified complaint process, and accountability and tracking mechanisms.

Patrols: Although police foot patrols have been increased recently, the Administration will work with law enforcement to further increase the police presence during peak activity periods. This will be accomplished through a combination of increased patrols by the Hoboken Police Department and with officers from the County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, the City Council recently approved the use of Class II police officers, and Mayor Zimmer hopes to work with Chief Falco to use this tool to increase patrols at key times.

Enforcement: Consistent enforcement will be a vital complement to an increased police presence. The Zimmer Administration will propose legislation to set the fine for disturbing the peace to $500, $1,000 and $2,000 for the first, second and third offenses, respectively. Community service would be required as well for all offenses. Currently, the law is for a maximum of $2,000 plus community service for the first offense, although it is principally enforced only during St. Patrick’s Day events. Mayor Zimmer is strongly advocating for consistent year-round enforcement.

Complaint Process: The City will also establish one central location where residents can call with noise complaints. Fire dispatch operators are currently being trained on the City’s new noise ordinance and will receive and track noise complaints through a constituent request management system. The data will be analyzed internally to provide metrics useful for efficiently allocating resources and improving enforcement. It will also be tracked for benchmarking and to measure the City’s responsiveness. In addition, residents will be able to track their complaints and corresponding responses through an online system.

Tracking system: In addition to the Fire Department, police and parking enforcement officers have also recently been trained in the new noise ordinance and in the use of sound meters. City employees have also recently completed training in the City’s new constituent request management system, QAlert.