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Santa Clarita needs tougher enforcement of noise laws

Posted: September 11, 2013 2:49 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2013 2:49 p.m.

Recently I alerted both the Mayor’s and Sheriff’s office of the growing nuisance of modified mufflers both by motorcycles and vehicles in the Santa Clarita area. My first draft to the Mayor’s office was asking why isn’t the SB 435 law not being enforced. The law requires that every motorcycle registered in California bear the required applicable Federal EPA label which states that the motorcycle emissions equipment is in compliance with federal noise standards.

City Manager Ken Striplin replied: “However, Section 27202.1 (a) sentence two of Senate Bill 435 also states, that “A violation of this section shall be considered a mechanical violation and a peace officer shall not stop a motorcycle solely on a suspicion of a violation of this section.” This means that in order for the Sheriff’s Department to enforce the law established in Senate Bill 435, the motorcycle must be in violation of another law in order to be stopped.Although the city empathizes with your frustration, we cannot be proactive in citing these motorcycles solely for an emissions equipment violation, as we can only enforce within the parameters of what the law will allow. In the event that a motorcycle is pulled over to address another violation of the traffic code, the Sheriffs will confirm compliance with federal noise standards during that time. 

In the event that you have additional questions about this law and its enforcement procedures, please contact Erin Riches of the Senate Committee on Transportation at (916) 651-4121.”

As you can note the city offered no solution but rather an excuse not to enforce the law. In other words not once did Mr. Striplin mention that the City of Santa Clarita has noise ordinances that can be enforced (Policy N 1.1.2 City of Santa Clarita Noise Ordinance: Continue to implement the adopted Noise Ordinance and other applicable code provisions, consistent with state and federal standards, which establish noise impact thresholds for noise abatement and attenuation, in order to reduce potential health hazards associated with high noise levels). The only action that the city took was to pass it on to the Senate Committee on Transportation. Carrie Cornwell, chief consultant for the Committee of Transportation in the city, suggested we contact Senator Fran Pavley who wrote the law and request a change in wording so that the law may be enforced. She used the example of when the seat belt law was originally written it was not enforced until enough public awareness was made and then the law became enforceable.

Hopefully we can gather enough support from local residents who are also bothered by this noise pollution and take note that both the city and sheriff’s department have offered no solution or action to the problem to date. We are hoping to gather signatures to present to the city and to Senator Pavley to make them aware that the citizens of Santa Clarita want to make a change in the way the noise ordinances are being enforced.

James White is a Saugus resident.


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