Seattle City Council mulling new noise ordinance

SEATTLE -- Residents near Seattle's Seward Park say noise pollution from anchored boats is getting to be too much, and they've asked the City Council to do something about it.

Chris Tolfree brings his dog to Lake Washington's shoreline just about every day, but on the weekends he says the water is polluted with noise.

"It just seems to undermine the reason for why we have these parks that bring us peace and calm and in touch with nature, because what you have is people partying on boats and being loud," he said.

The music is loud enough that residents often call police and city agencies to complain, and the issue now has the attention of the Seattle City Council.

"It's a fairly modest action that we're taking," said Councilman Richard Conlin. "Nobody wants to stop boating, nobody wants to stop people from having parties. Just turn the music down when it's getting too loud."

Under the current watercraft ordinance, Seattle Harbor Patrol can't properly respond to noise complaints because there's no code that addresses audio equipment on boats.

"Yeah, there's definitely times when you have, like, five boats rafting up together and they've all got it on the same radio station," said boater Dan Donavan.

The new proposal expands the noise ordinance to include audio systems and would require a noise meter reading before a citation could be issued.

The ordinance is modeled after a controversial law enacted by the city of Kirkland.

"Since Kirkland passed their ordinance last year, a lot of those boats have come down to Andrews Bay and that's caused an increase in the noise this year," Conlin said.

While many in the area are bothered by the noise, some are taking it with a grain of salt.

"It's just people having fun. When you live down here you kind of have to expect these kind of things," said Ion Arai.

The City Council will vote on the ordinance next Monday. If approved, it will take 30 days before police can start writing citations.