Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We all scream for ice cream 4/25

The jingle of an ice cream truck is one of summer’s most unmistakable sounds.

The trucks drive through local neighborhoods and play music to draw children out of their homes. The first hint of the sound of Mr. Ding-a-Ling’s truck is enough to cause children in Malta to come running.

It’s also apparently enough to send one resident to the town’s Code Enforcement office to file a grievance.

Town Supervisor Paul Sausville confirmed Wednesday that a woman in the Century Farms development lodged a formal complaint against the truck earlier this week.

“We get some really unusual complaints,” Sausville said, though the town “takes all complaints seriously.”

In the complaint, filed Monday, the woman claims that Mr. Ding-a-Ling’s loud music disrupts the quiet enjoyment of her home and – most egregiously – wakes her son up from his daily nap.

“Mr. Ding-a-Ling is depriving our child of adequate rest important for health and development,” the complaint states.

The town recently adopted a revised ordinance designed to combat untimely construction noise, though it also regulates the decibel levels. Sounds can’t exceed 60 decibels during the day and 50 at night.

Ordinary conversation is about 60 decibels, so surely an ice cream truck’s music must represent some kind of violation.

The only way to know for sure, Building and Planning Director Anthony Tozzi said, would have been to have a code enforcement officer stand in the ice cream line with a decibel meter in his hand.

“We just called Mr. Ding-a-Ling and explained he may be in violation,” Tozzi said, adding that the vendor agreed to turn down the music when entering that neighborhood.

Tozzi, though, noted that the loud music can actually be a safety device. It’s not exempt from the ordinance, he said, but the speaker notifies motorists that children are likely in the area.

“You just can’t please everybody,” he said.

As far as the town is concerned, the situation is resolved. Sausville said 99 percent of complaints are resolved without the town issuing a citation, as most folks simply want to be a good neighbor.

Had the town issued him a citation, though, Tozzi said the ice cream man could have wound up paying a $500 fine. That’s a lot of Klondike bars. If the judge was feeling particularly strict, he could have also sent the defendant in People v. Ding-a-Ling to jail.

“If we told him he couldn’t operate in Malta, we’d have 1,000 people come out with pitchforks,” Tozzi said.

Until next time,

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Blogger Saratoga Pixie said...

Are you kidding me?? Next thing you know, we will be regulating the sound from children playing outside! Oh yes, that's right! Kids are not allowed to play outside for fear that the cranky neighbor next door gets angry because the ball went on their property or because the loud yells from the children make her dog bark! This is getting ridiculous.

April 25, 2012 at 6:05 PM 
Blogger Ima Hermit said...

This means that everyone mowing a lawn in Malta this summer will be in violation of the law. Lawnmowers typically operate at about 90 decibels, well above the 60 decibel limit. Great way for the town to collect some revenue though!

April 25, 2012 at 7:31 PM 
Blogger Unknown said...

So when her kid is outside playing and being just a kid can the neighborhood turn her in for quiet enjoyment of their homes?

This sounds like a sleep deprived new mom and she needs serious help- the kind she isn't going to get by shutting the ice cream truck sound system down.

April 26, 2012 at 3:47 AM 
Blogger Jon said...

Seriously? This woman obviously has too much time on her hands. Get over yourself.

April 26, 2012 at 8:22 AM 
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