NH Town: Emergency Overrules Ordinance After Noisy Generators Draw Complaints
File photo - Public Domain Pictures
GILFORD — Generators are exempt from a noise ordinance for the time being in one New Hampshire town because of the severity of Sunday's storm.
But police said they've received complaints from neighbors who don't like the noise.
Gilford resident Britney Smith said her neighbor first complained to her about her generator being too noisy Tuesday night and then again Wednesday morning. Smith said her neighbor told her about the town's noise ordinance and threatened to call the police if her generator ran that night.
The town of Gilford's noise ordinance runs from 11 p.m.-7 a.m.
"So I called police after that and they told me if my neighbor called after 11 p.m., they would have to come by and tell me to shut it off," Smith said.
Smith then spoke to Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn, who helped her find a clause in the town's zoning laws that allow generators exemption from the noise ordinance during times of emergency. Dunn then had a conversation with the town's law enforcement officers, who agreed that the ordinance shouldn't be enforced given the amount of residents without power.
Gilford has been one of the harder hit areas of the state with the highest lingering number of power outages as of Wednesday. Eversource still had 5,747 customers without power as of 2 p.m. Another six customers of the New Hampshire Electric Co-op also were waiting for electricity to be restored.
Deputy Police Chief Kris Kelley said the department has received multiple complaints about loud generators, but they're advising residents to have a little compassion for their neighbors as the power restoration effort continues.
"Be understanding of your neighbors," he said. "We want everyone to stay warm and have access to food and electricity."
Kelley stressed that they wouldn't ask anyone to turn off their generator, especially since temperatures are dropping, and said the reasoning behind the decision should be obvious.
He also said that anybody in need of assistance can contact the Gilford police or fire departments, and they'll do their best to help out with food, water and shelter.
Smith said she feels bad that her generator is disturbing her neighbor, but that she has no other option at this point.
"I'm not running it to be mean but we have to do it," Smith said. "I apologize for the noise but we have a bunch of food that we just can't afford to have go bad."
Residents of other New Hampshire cities and towns should check with their local police or city hall if they have any questions regarding noise ordinances and generator use while crews work to restore power to the rest of the state.