Lee County mulls noise ordinance

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – County leaders will consider an ordinance against loud music and other disturbances after a string of requests from rural residents.
Lee County currently has no noise ban, so a person’s sole recourse involves legal action through the courts, Sheriff Jim Johnson told the Board of Supervisors during a Monday morning meeting.
“A neighbor can sign an affidavit and take a person to court,” he said.
But it has its flaws: It’s slow; it seems unnecessarily extreme, and many residents fear retribution if they take legal action.
District 3 Supervisor Darrell Rankin suggested the ordinance after getting complaints from a resident whose neighbors blast loud music while she sleeps. The woman, he said, works a night shift and sleeps during the day.
But Johnson warned against a one-size-fits-all ordinance, saying it also would apply to people running a lawn mower or bush hog.
District 5 Supervisor Joe McKinney agreed: “If these people are up all night drinking and have got their music bumping, that’s a malicious act, but people bush hogging during the day is not.”
One Lee County resident at the meeting said he suffered the loud, nighttime music of a neighbor for roughly three years.
But even he wavered on whether the county should pass a noise ordinance.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” Jacky Blackburn said, “but I do think in situations like I’ve experienced there needs to be some meat in the law.”
Many cities, like Tupelo, have some type of noise ordinance. But county attorney Gary Carnathan said he doesn’t know of any counties with one.
Supervisors did not vote on the matter and asked Carnathan to research possible noise ordinances passed by other counties.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.