In my opinion, the recent Noise Ordinance Task Force, of which I was a member, was nothing short of a sham.  Sham is defined as “something that is not what it purports to be…an imitation, a fraud, or hoax.” The task force was established to study the present noise ordinance for Warren County and to aid in the formulation of a new ordinance that would eliminate glaring problems.

In the very first meeting, County Attorney Kingsberry came as facilitator, but immediately took on duties of chairman and began to control procedures. This approach continued through the final meeting when procedures were controlled by the county manager. It is generally understood, except maybe in Warren County, that a task force selects its own chairman. A task force is for public input, not a tool for government officials who might have their own agenda. Sham?

After months of work, in the recent meeting on Aug. 13, task force members were unexpectedly informed that they were no longer needed. No ordinance had yet been recommended, and Kingsberry was not present at the final meeting to hear concerns. Yet, somehow it had been decided that he would write the document himself. Had anyone really heard the task force’s recommendations and concerns? Would the new document serve the welfare of citizens of Warren County or special interests? Was the whole task force a charade used to provide an appearance of inclusion of public opinion in the process? Sham?

Will the final noise ordinance be shared with the task force for feedback before its presentation to the board of commissioners? Wanna place a bet? Warren County is in desperate need of a noise ordinance. On a nearly regular basis, neighborhoods are now being threatened by the appearance of high impact noises that destroy peace and quiet and threaten the health of Warren County citizens. Routinely, citizens are told that there is nothing that law enforcement can do, as no laws are being broken. For example, our present noise ordinance exempts high impact entities (such as a chip mill, a race track, or a shooting range) from the same noise scrutiny/standards applied to other noise producers and even makes it illegal to measure high impact noise or to control high impact noise hours. That is beyond ludicrous, and yet, in Warren County, that is the law, and it may continue to be. Shame.

ERNIE FLEMING

Warren Co. Commissioner 2006-10

Ridgeway