Church bells can ring in Vidor

Published 6:35 am Saturday, October 24, 2020

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By Dawn Burleigh

After complaints of church bells ringing in Groves, the city of Vidor reviewed its noise ordinance and discovered it did not have an exemption for church bells.

Council member Keith Buesing asked the council to allow for an exemption for church bells.

“It was brought to our attention by Keith,” City Manager Robbie Hood said.  “Thank you, for that.”

City Attorney Chris Leavins added the ordinance for noise was already in place and the council was adding exemptions.

Among those now exempt are church bells and chimes, events on school grounds, and first responder.

Previously the ordinance read:

Sec. 22-31. – Prohibited noise generally.

(a) Any unreasonably loud, disturbing, unnecessary noise which causes material distress, discomfort or injury to persons of ordinary sensibilities in the immediate vicinity thereof is hereby declared to be a nuisance and is prohibited.

(b) Any noise of such character, intensity and continued duration, which substantially interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of private homes by persons of ordinary sensibilities is hereby declared to be a nuisance and is prohibited.

(Ord. No. 669, § 1, 4-25-1991)

Sec. 22-32. – Specific prohibitions.

The following acts, among others, are declared to be nuisances in violation of this article, but such enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:

(1) The playing of any radio, phonograph or other musical instrument in such manner or with such volume, particularly during the hours between 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons of ordinary sensibilities in any dwelling or other type of residence.

(2) The use of any stationary loudspeaker or amplifier of such intensity that annoys and disturbs persons of ordinary sensibilities in the immediate vicinity thereof.

(3) The continued or frequent sounding of any horn or signal device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus, or other vehicle except as a danger or warning signal; or the creation by means of any such signal device of any unreasonably loud or harsh noise for any unnecessary and unreasonable period of time.

(4) The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any motorcycle or motor vehicle except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.

(5) Use of “engine braking”, “exhaust blowdown”, and/or “compression release” braking.

  1. Prohibited.It shall be impermissible to stop or slow a vehicle upon any street by use of “engine braking”, “exhaust blowdown”, and/or “compression release” braking unless circumstances on the roadway or with traffic create a situation where such usage is necessary to avoid an accident.
  2. Exception.The determination of whether or not the usage of “engine braking”, “exhaust blowdown”, and/or “compression release” braking was necessary, reasonable and prudent under the then present conditions and circumstances shall be determined by any Vidor police officer observing such usage.

(Ord. No. 669, § 2, 4-25-1991; Ord. No. 1061, § 1, 10-12-2006)

While no citizen comments were made in reference to church bells, two citizens did comment on other concerns.

A gentleman spoke of the lack of a turning lane at Hwy. 90 and Farm to Market Road 105.

“There is no turning lane and I have had to wait through multiple lights to cross,” the man said. “Turn light indicators could help the prevention of future accidents at that location.”

A woman spoke on two concerns she had for her neighborhood, a location of 12-14plus residential blocks.

She asked the council to consider regulations concerning the influx of tiny homes.

“They have been checked and they are up to code, but they are not following the original deed restrictions for the required square footage,” she said.

Another concern she had was for the lack of speed limit signs in the neighborhood.

“I have counted six posted and most are posted so close to turning onto a street that they are easy to miss,” she said. “The ones there are very old and hard to see.”