HIGHLAND -- The passage of a noise ordinance should put some teeth into Highland's nuisance laws.
"Nuisance ordinances are very vague and difficult to enforce in a court of law," said Town Attorney Rhett Tauber. "Nuisance ordinances are not very strong. That's why we added the noise ordinance."
The Highland Town Council adopted a noise ordinance at its meeting Monday evening, prompted by neighbors' complaints about noise from Finke's Bar & Grill at 8835 Kennedy Ave. The ordinance calls for the use of a decibel measuring device and is based on a model recommended by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. Noise levels will be regulated from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
"We are working on some other ideas, although I don't want to comment on them now," Council President George Georgeff said. "They will require the cooperation of the neighbors."
Neighbors seemed more than ready to go along with any ideas the council has to restore peace and quiet to the area. Two neighbors attending the meeting talked of five Finke's security guards chasing an underage patron through their yards last week.
"On the weekends, I am up until 3 a.m.," said Tina Rodgers, who lives nearby. "This place interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of my life and property, as it says in the nuisance ordinance."
Although he was not in attendance at Monday's meeting, in the past, owner Ken Finke expressed doubt about the effectiveness of the ordinance and the measuring of the noise levels. Finke claims trains and garbage trucks emptying Dumpsters are louder than the noise from his nightclub.
Town Council members said they have been contacted by residents concerned the noise ordinance would affect the use of snow blowers and lawn mowers.
Amendments were made for those purposes, with snow blowers not allowed from midnight until 6 a.m. and lawn mowing not to take place between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. There is a possibility snow blowers could be exempt from the ordinance following a heavy storm.
"The ordinance says that the noise shall not disturb or annoy a reasonable person," Georgeff said. "This ordinance is not designed to impede but to get people to cooperate living together."
Town Council members say the noise ordinance is necessary.
"This is much needed for this town," said Councilman Michael O'Donnell, who is a police corporal. "We are doing what we can to attempt to stop problems that have happened recently."