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Whitehall officials hear request to control motorcycle noise

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Whitehall leaders say the steps they would have to take to meet one resident's request to quiet unreasonably loud motorcycles might not be economically feasible.

They also said they wonder if there is enough of a problem with motorcycle-noise violations to look into purchasing a decibel readers and training a police officer to use the equipment.

“Do we have a large-enough problem? Is it an issue that is going to present itself and is not going to lead into other complications?” police Chief Donald Dolfi asked.

“It ultimately comes down to what amount of resources both financially, economically, staff-wise, personnel-wise, do we want to put into something that at the end of the day still may not be a problem. Motorcycles are loud, and they pass inspections.”

Responding to a resident's request last month at a council meeting about motorcycles noise that echoes through the borough, Whitehall leaders last week discussed their options.

Whitehall's code regulates noise and addresses the volume of noise from a motorcycle, borough Solicitor Irving Firman said. However, it refers to state regulations in the Motor Vehicle Code, with set decibel levels for noise restrictions.

Whitehall does not have a decibel reader and would need to train and certify a police officer to use the equipment to enforce the ordinance, Firman said.

“It's pretty complex in terms of how you're supposed to measure,” Firman said.

Whitehall leaders say they're not sure that's a step they're going to take.

“I think the answer is: We can do something about it. We can get a piece of equipment. We can train an officer. The question is do we have a big enough problem in Whitehall Borough that we want to get our police officers involved in that?” Mayor James Nowalk asked.

It's uncommon for boroughs in the area to regulate motorcycle noise based on decibel readings, Dolfi said.

“I, personally, right now, I know of no police department that has sound decibel recordings that goes out and tries to take readings,” Dolfi said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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