"Laws only get adopted because people do things that you wouldn't think people would do," said Stephen Limmer, a Village of Great Neck attorney speaking at a board of trustees meeting earlier this month.
But some might question that claim following recently-passed village legislation in the small Long Island community.
Making national headlines, the Great Neck Village Board of Trustes voted unanimously Dec. 4 to ban common front yard clotheslines.
In 2011, the same village government outlawed smoking on sidewalks along most of its main streets.
On Tuesday, village elders are expected to discuss enumeration of prohibited village noises which could be regulated between certain hours of the day.
Introduced at a public hearing Dec. 4, the noise bill would prohibit loud and disturbing sounds on most days between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Holiday noise would also be regulated.
The problem with the bill is its broad language — namely the definition of noise, according to Limmer.
"I felt that if you are going to court to enforce it," said Limmer Dec. 4, ... "it's stronger if you have specific legislation that a court can look at."
Limmer has been asked by Village Mayor Ralph Kreitzman to strengthen the wording of the bill before a vote.
"More teeth," according to Kreitzman, who said police have been unwilling to issue summonses when residents get too loud.
The move to change existing noise regulations stems from a complaint by a resident suffering for "months and months and months where people get together in the back yard and drink and party loudly and slam doors," according to Limmer.
The proposed new law set off a spirited debate regarding village noise and its definition at the most recent village board meeting.
"I don't think we should ever be allowed to disturb other people, quite frankly," said Trustee Mark Birnbaum, in opposition to the wording of the proposed law. "I don't want to give permission to the people to be disturbing up 'till 11 o'clock at night."
Longtime resident Elizabeth Allen questioned whether nearby noises, such as music from the Village Green, parties from the Meshadi facility or shrieking children —all of which she finds bearable — would open create an environment of increased complaints in the village.
"Once again you are opening up, by means of legislation to the hyper-sensitive and the me only crowd, a path to ruin everybody else's lives," said Allen.
The public meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.
Also on the agenda Tuesday:
- A bill requiring village landscapers to remove their plant waste.
- Approval of mailing address for village pump stations.
- Notice of defects at 19 Baker Hills Rd. and 16 Apple Tree Ln.
- Discussion of a Great Neck Arts Center letter.