Noise levels measured after ordinance proposed in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Talk over changing Greensboro's outdoor noise ordinance had city officials busting out a loudness meter on Thursday.

The current ordinance tries to cut down on things such as blaring car horns, constantly barking dogs and loud music.

The ordinance can't be enforced, however, unless it is a consistent noise problem. Also, city officials don't look into noise issues until people complain.

The current level of unacceptable noise is 65 decibels, and it must be that loud after 10 p.m.

Police Capt. Brian James used a decibel meter on Thursday to measure common sound levels sounds downtown.

A passing city garbage truck measured 72 decibels, and a yelling James measured 90 decibels.

The first version of the ordinance, as read to council by interim city attorney Tom Pollard at its last meeting, would reduce the level of acceptable sound to 45 decibels.

The decibel meter only got into the 40s when James, FOX8 reporter Sheeka Strickland and a FOX8 photographer were completely quiet.

While all the attention about the ordinance has been directed toward downtown, the ordinance is actually in effect citywide.

Council postponed a vote on the ordinance at its last meeting. It's expected to be brought up again in early March.