by Ben Pounds
September 22, 2016
With decibel monitors and video cameras, Farragut resident Doug Kimzey announced he had been monitoring noise from traffic on Fretz and Grigsby Chapel roads for two-and-one-half years.
“Believe me, if I weren’t interested in this, I wouldn’t do this,” he said.
Kimzey said he had permission from property owners on land that he uses to monitor and video.
He spoke to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen Thursday, Aug. 25.
“Just to give you an indication, this year alone I’ve got 60 instances of vehicles that are easily admitting well over 100 decibels as they go down the road,” Kimzey said.
In a later interview, he said vehicles with custom glass pack mufflers made the most noise, and custom stereo systems were the second biggest problem. “These vehicles are significantly louder than the school buses and the utility vehicles,” he said.
“There is no shortage of … papers and documentation … on the negative effects of this type of noise in a neighborhood,” he said.
“I think that the major bottleneck and the major frustration that citizens currently face is that they have no legal recourse for getting a case such as this into our court system,” Kimzey said.
“The crux of the situation is that we feel that in order to show that an incident has occurred, it must take place in sight of a law officer,” Kimzey said.
However, he said there were other ways to establish probable cause. Kimzey said he was considering creating a kit that citizens could download.
“A notarized statement like that, which might go to a prosecutor might be a way to do it,” he said regarding establishment of probable cause.
“I wouldn’t be so confident that I’ve got an actual outline of a solution without running it by our aldermen. So my request is basically for a single point of contact that I can work with to develop what I hope could be shaped into a workable solution,” he said.
David Smoak, Town administrator, said he would work with Kimzey.
“We don’t have a noise ordinance right now. We do rely on the county to do the enforcement of the county noise ordinance that’s within the Town limits of Farragut,” Smoak said.
However, David Buuck, Knox County chief deputy law director, said KCSO does not have jurisdiction in townships such as Farragut and Knoxville to enforce county laws. He said Knox County ordinances do not apply to Farragut.
Buuck said even if BOMA passed its own noise ordinance, KCSO would not enforce it.
“There’s really no way to do it unless somebody files a complaint in the general sessions court,” he said.
“A county ordinance is for Knox County outside of the boundaries of the municipalities,” he said.
“It’s a local ordinance issue. That’s all it is. Let me tell you something. Farragut doesn’t want to go to the expense to have its own enforcement. It doesn’t want to go in front of … the city Board of Mayor and Aldermen and come up with its own noise ordinance. That’s their prerogative,” he said.
He said he had not researched any relevant state laws, and enforcement of any law for vehicular noise would be impossible.
“Somebody says, ‘I don’t like this car that came through my neighborhood, because it had a loud muffler,’ or it had that ‘boom, boom, boom’ of the loud radio that was coming from it. How do you enforce it? If you call a police officer out, let’s assume there is one, and you can call him out. Well, this guy is not going to come out there to find … that car, which has probably moved and no longer there any more, and he couldn’t swear out the warrant. Has to be an individual that comes down there and swears out the warrant. How’s it going to happen? It’s just totally impossible to enforce,” he said.
Mayor Ralph McGill expressed similar concerns.
“It seems to me that you have to have a system where you’re capturing license plates. You’re going to have to capture some of the noise somehow. Otherwise you don’t have a case. That doesn’t sound easy to me,” he said.
Darryl Smith, Town engineer, said some states require annual vehicle inspections and suggested the Town support inspections in Tennessee. He said the inspections were for emissions control, but some of the noisy mufflers would cause emissions problems as well.