Ask Erin: Options for dealing with noisy neighbors | Kitsap Week

Have a question? Ask Erin. - Richard Walker
Have a question? Ask Erin.
— image credit: Richard Walker

Dear Erin,
I read your recent article in the Kitsap Week section of the Bremerton Patriot and was wondering if you might have some advice for my situation.

This used to be a very quiet neighborhood. However, a year or so ago a family moved in “kitty-corner” across the street from us. Last summer they parked their car in their driveway, opened the doors and turned on the stereo full blast.

I think I nipped that in the bud, but recently they evidently purchased go-carts and a small dirt bike for their kids. Now they run them up and down the road (private street) in front of our house incessantly.

Since I’m sure these vehicles are not “street legal,” I can call the police to put an end to that. However, that, I’m sure, will only lead to their running them up and down their driveway, which with the proximity to our house is just as annoying.

Isn’t there a noise and/or nuisance ordinance I can use to return quiet to our neighborhood (we live within Bremerton city limits)?

Bugged in Bremerton

Dear Bugged,
I can almost hear their motors grumbling and I agree the noise can be a nuisance. But let’s think about this. They’re kids and kids can be loud. If they aren’t revving their motors, they may be bouncing basketballs, yelling and carrying on. You know, being typical loud kids.

I checked the City of Bremerton’s noise ordinance and chapter 6.32 deals with noise levels. The rules seems to vary depending on zoning, but in some circumstances appear to prohibit continuous and repetitive noises, including from operating a motorcycle and other vehicles.  A call to the city may be helpful in determining how the ordinances apply to your particular property and situation.

I can imagine that part of your frustration stems from the unpredictability of the noise. When’s it going to start and stop? The unknown can be almost as nerve-racking as the sound.

Have you tried talking to the kids and the parents? Perhaps some good ground rules regarding when they can use their equipment will give you comfort. For instance, no firing up the dirt bike before 10 a.m. and not past 7 p.m. sounds reasonable. And now with gas prices as high as they are, the cost of  fuel may limit their activity.

If talking gets you nowhere, then I urge you to contact the city regarding your specific property. You have the right to peace just like they have the right to fun.

— Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo, WA. 98370 or e-mail Questions can range from advice to practical issues.

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