Ask a Dispatcher
Q. Does Juneau have a time frame that is more appropriate to be more quiet? We have recently had an issue with our upstairs neighbor who was not too happy when he thought we were making too much noise during a family game night. (You would think he was the downstairs neighbor). It was 8pm which I believe is fine to be making some noise during a regular night of games and fun.
Dear Juneau Resident,
You bring up an issue that is probably JPD's most common complaint and the closer people live to each other the more complaints we get. You will notice "Noise" has it's very own 'Ask A Dispatcher' category. Most of us can't afford to live on an acre out the road so we have to figure out how to get along when it comes to noise. Residential noise doesn't have hard limits like those that apply to commercial activities. However, most officers treat 10pm as a reasonable time for people to settle down on weeknights when neighbors probably have to work the next day.
If an officer is going to issue a citation, the noise has to be unreasonable enough that the citing officer believes the citation would stand up in court. The fine for Disturbing the Peace is $300. The entire ordinance is at the end of this answer.
You are indicating the noise being made was reasonable for the location and time. This probably means you have more of an interpersonal issue with your neighbor than a legal issue. It might be a good idea to wait until you are no longer angry about the situation then go talk to the neighbor and try to find out more about why the person objected. Try going into the conversation with an open mind. For all you know your neighbor was going to be working a very early shift at the hospital. Maybe your neighbor is struggling with problems at work, has experienced the death of a loved one, or has been sick and was finally asleep when game night woke him or her up. Maybe game night noise was just the last straw for that person on that day. Once the reason is out in the open maybe you can negotiate a solution. You might even decide you like the neighbor and invite him or her to a game night now and then. That is the surest way to avoid a complaint.
We are coming up on the date for National Night Out. It is August 7th this year. You could host a block party and try and get to know your neighbor in a neutral way. Many of us have personal experience that once you barbeque with someone it is a lot easier to warn them that you are having a game night and it might get rowdy and have someone act in an understanding way. Prior social interaction also makes it easier for someone to approach a neighbor and say he or she hasn't been feeling well or has been working nights and your _________(kids, dogs, trampoline, goats, model jet engine, all of the above)are driving that person crazy and also get some understanding. You can sign up to host a National Night Out party on this website once we get a little closer to the date.
42.20.095 - Disturbing the peace.
It is unlawful for any person willfully to make or continue to make, or cause to be made or continued, any loud, unnecessary, or unusual noise which disturbs the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or which causes discomfort or annoyance to any reasonable person of normal sensitivity residing in the area. The standards which shall be considered in determining whether a violation of the provisions of this section exists shall include the following:
The volume of noise;
The intensity of the noise;
Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual;
Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural;
The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any;
The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities;
The nature and zoning of the area within which the noise emanates;
The density of the inhabitation of the area within which the noise emanates;
The time of the day or night the noise occurs;
The duration of the noise;
Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant;
Whether the noise is produced by a commercial or noncommercial activity;
Whether the noise contains pure tones.
Liability. In a prosecution under this section, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the owner, tenant, or person in charge of real property from which noise emanates in violation of this section has caused or allowed to be caused the noise which violates this section.
Construction of buildings and projects. It is unlawful to operate any pile driver, power shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick, power hoist, or similar heavy construction equipment, before 7:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or before 9:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, unless a permit shall first be obtained from the City and Borough building official. Such permit shall be issued by the building official only upon a determination that such operation during hours not otherwise permitted under this section is necessary and will not result in unreasonable disturbance to surrounding residents.
Noise emanating from vehicles.
Policy. It is unlawful for any person to play, continue to play, or allow to be played, any sound system from, within, or on any motor vehicle so that any sound, music, or vibration emanating therefrom can be heard at a distance of more than 30 feet between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m., unless the vehicle is a sound truck operating pursuant to a permit issued under section 72.10.150
Liability. In a prosecution under this section, it shall be rebuttable presumption that the registered owner of a vehicle from which emanates noise in violation of this section has played or allowed to be played the sound system causing the noise.
Defenses. It is an affirmative defense to a charge under subsection (a) of this section that the noise is a normal result of a kennel authorized in an industrial zone under title 49 of this Code.
Disturbing the peace is an infraction.