Borough rejects call for noise, sign laws

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Fairbanks North Star Borough Clerk's office has determined that proposed laws to get rid of tall signs and loud noise are unconstitutional, or could be, as written.

''It's ridiculous,'' said Bruce Phillips. ''Every big town on the world, every civilized town has a noise ordinance,'' as well as a sign ordinance, he said.

Phillips is among a group of people who applied with the borough to establish the petitions that would enable them to propose the laws to the voters.

His anti-noise proposal targets loud vehicles and boom boxes, he said. It calls for fines of $50, $100 and $200 for noise offenders.

The anti-sign proposal essentially limits the height of signs to 30 feet.

Phillips has had a long-standing dispute with his neighbor, a McDonald's on Geist Road. He's annoyed by the restaurant's noise, bright lights and smells. The restaurant erected a fence but he said it hasn't helped.

Phillips' proposals are targeted at McDonald's, but he said they're also meant to benefit the community.

''I think this town needs some ordinances instead of the wild, wild West the borough thinks people want,'' Phillips said.

Acting Borough Attorney Rene Broker said the noise proposal as written could be indefensible in court. Broker wrote in a memorandum that Phillips' proposal is written such that it bans all use of compression brakes in the borough.

The sign proposal was held problematic because it raises similar constitutional issues but also because it was incomplete, the borough said. In one section, it calls for limiting signs taller than 30 feet but doesn't spell out the limits.

''This is important, substantive information necessary to the ordinance,'' wrote Deputy Clerk Nanci Bolles in her letter of rejection.

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