August 1, 2008
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Madison: Henry County, Tennessee has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for refusing to enact any kind of anti-noise regulations in rural areas. In Henry County, Tennessee, as far as noise, anything goes.
In June 2008, the Henry County Commission rejected the creation of an anti-noise ordinance for the rural portions of the county. Springville-area residents have frequently complained about a neighbor who drives a loud racing four-wheeler throughout the day and night.
Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew, speaking against the proposed ordinance, scoffed, “Do we really want to blow our Sheriff’s department gas money to respond to a barking dog call?”
Commissioner Larry Watson also joined the pro-noise chorus, stating: “I’m concerned about adopting a law that’s going to be tough to police. If we adopt it, I just think that’s going to open a can of worms for the Sheriff’s Department.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, stated that “some people move to the country for peace and quiet. Others move to the country to make tons of noise. In Henry County, Tennessee, public officials are apparently more concerned about an individual’s ability to make obnoxious noise than about the public’s right to peace and quiet. This decision by the Henry County Commission is an absolute disgrace.”
Mike Smith, head of Noise Free Virginia, stated that “municipalities across America are finally recognizing the adverse effects of community noise–except Henry County, Tennessee.”
“Public officials in Henry County,” Smith continued, “express concerns about noisemakers’ rights and civil liberties. Did anyone stop to think about the rights of noise victims? As citizens of America, we have rights and civil liberties afforded us–but those rights and liberties have limits. No one has the right to impose themselves on innocents. Noise is Americans’ number one complaint about their neighborhoods, and the main reason they wish to move.”
According to Smith, “I have never seen officials display such gross neglect of a major social nuisance. Voters of Henry County should make major changes in their leadership, before the county’s anti-social behavior becomes worse. Excessive noise is related to disrespect, defilement of law and order, drugs, and gangs. Henry County, Tennessee is headed for trouble.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Its web site is noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Youngstown, Ohio; Lincoln, Nebraska; and West Hollywood, California.