N.S. officials to consider prohibiting ATVs, other off-road vehicles within 300 feet of homes

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Town Council will consider adding a provision to North Smithfield’s noise ordinance making it illegal to operate off-road motorized vehicles within 300 feet of a neighboring residential home.

The potential amendment reportedly follows multiple police complaints in one neighborhood over loud ATV riders.

Resident Paul Soares told councilors a new neighbor on Sayles Hill Road has caused him and others in the area to call police repeatedly over noise from the vehicles.

“It’s a nice quiet residential area,” Soares said. “Ever since he moved in it’s been an ATV rodeo over there every weekend. They ride around in circles around the house revving their engines. It’s very unpleasant.”

Soares said he tried to speak to the neighbor about his concerns.

“He got very angry and said some choice words,” Soares said.

Soares said he reported the incident to police and was told officers had already been out to the home twice following complaints from two other neighbors. But because the town’s noise ordinance dictates what’s considered illegal in decibels, police would have to catch them riding to take a reading with a decibel reader.

“It’s a cat and mouse game,” he said.

Soares, who served on the commission that drafted the town’s current – and highly detailed – noise ordinance, has suggested a change to the law making illegal to operate an off road, motorized vehicle within 300 feet of a residential home. The ordinance, to be drafted by Town Solicitor David Igliozzi using language from a similar law in Methuen, Mass., would include exceptions for activities such as farming and general yard work.

“I’m sure my neighborhood is not the only neighborhood that’s having trouble with dirt bikes and atvs,” Soares said.

Violations of the ordinance are punishable by a fine of $100 for the first offense and $300 for fines thereafter.

“It’s a shame we have to create an ordinance,” said Council President John Beauregard in reaction to the initiative. “We shouldn’t have to legislate common sense and decency.”

Igliozzi is expected to have the proposal, which will require two votes by the board for passage, prepared for the council’s next meeting.

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