Summit County commissioners to vote on noise ordinance changes |

Summit County commissioners to vote on noise ordinance changes

Officials seek to clean up existing legislation to improve enforcement, clarify rules

Short-term rental properties in the Copper Mountain Resort village are pictured Aug. 13, 2021. Summit County officials weighing minor changes to the county's noise ordinance which regulates noise in resort areas like Copper as well as neighborhood and industrial zones.
Ashley Low/Summit Daily News archive

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Elisabeth Lawrence’s name and to correctly attribute quotes to Cameron Turpin.

The Summit Board of County Commissioners will weigh changes to the county’s noise ordinance in an upcoming April meeting. 

Commissioners held a first hearing and discussion on the changes during a March 14 meeting where Assistant County Attorney Cameron Turpin described the effort as a clean up to existing legislation. She said the changes would improve enforcement and clarify rules that have been in place for 23 years. 

“We were one of three counties that had a provision that applied to vehicles operating on private property or public property that is not a road,” Turpin said, adding that provision was “not necessary” and is proposing it be removed. 

Changes to wording in the ordinance will also make it easier for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to enforce, Turpin said. 

“This new ordinance is just easier to follow, easier to read, easier to enforce,” Turpin said.

The proposed ordinance does not change noise limits and will still include existing exceptions, Turpin said, as well as a new exception for special use permits for certain events. 

“It’s just kind of a continuation of the ordinance, just cleaned up after 23 years,” Turpin said.

Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said she had concerns for what the ordinance would mean for resort areas like Copper Mountain Resort, which she said already exceeds the ordinance’s limit of 60 to 55 decibels for commercial areas. 

“Yes, there’s condos right up against the plaza,” Lawrence said. “But usually people that purchase or choose to stay in that do so because they want to be right in the resort area, in the action.”

Lawrence said she wants to avoid “creating another burden” for those areas which may not be in compliance with existing policy. 

“Right now, if you were to go to the base area of any ski area it’s going to be so incredibly loud right now,” Lawrence said, “and well over the definition of 60 (decibels). They’re going to be in the 80, 75 range.”

The county, however, does not have the ability to loosen noise regulations due to state statute, according to Turpin, though it does have the ability to be more stringent. Any changes to resort areas’ noise control would need to be addressed with the state government, county officials said. 

The county can still issue exemptions to the noise ordinance through special permitting, officials said. 

Commissioners are set to hold a second hearing and vote April 11 on the proposed changes. 

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