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Early bird makes the neighbors cranky

My neighbor decided at some point this summer to regularly mow his lawn at the crack of dawn. I understand it's cooler then, but some of us would prefer to sleep past daybreak. Is there any rule in Medford about what time people can crank up lawnmowers or other noisy equipment?

— Rob, Medford

Yes, indeed, there is, Rob. It's Municipal Code 5.225, and labeled "Unnecessary Noise." It states, "No person shall make, continue, cause, or permit to be made or continued any noise disturbance," and goes on to list some of the prohibited noises. Your neighbor's habit is among those listed, if he truly was cranking it up at daybreak during the summer

Section (e) of the code prohibits "Operation of mechanically powered lawn equipment, garden tools, chainsaws, blowers or similar devices in a residentially zoned neighborhood between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m."

Other prohibited noises include:

  • Barking dogs or other noisy animals that disturb neighbors.
  • Use of sound equipment that is plainly audible within a dwelling that is not the source of the sound, or use of such equipment on public property or on a public right-of-way that's plainly audible 50 feet or more from the source of the sound.
  • Parking a motor vehicle of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or more with the motor or auxiliary equipment operating between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Alteration, demolition, erection or repair of any structure between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The code notes that this is not an exclusive list, so other particularly loud disturbances could be in violation. The city can grant an exception in some cases.

If you don't want to rat out your neighbor, Rob, the good news for you in the near term is that the crack of dawn is getting later and later, and the temperatures are getting cooler. Now you just have to hope he doesn't have a leaf-blower.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.