It is everyone's responsibility to keep the noise that they make to an acceptable level. Under the Resource Management Act 1991, the Central Otago District Council has the power to control excessive and unreasonable noise.
The Council provides a 24 hours, seven days a week noise control service. Just phone (03) 440 0056 and your complaint will be forwarded to the Council's noise control officer. It is important to make the complaint whilst the noise is still occurring.
If your call is after normal working hours, it will be diverted to our after-hours service and those manning the phones will take the appropriate action. This may include issuing an Excessive Noise Direction or an Abatement Notice or seizure of the noise-offending equipment.
If the noise is assessed to be excessive a notice will be served requiring the noise to be reduced to a reasonable level. If the notice is not complied with, the noise control officer, accompanied with a police officer, can remove or disable the equipment creating the noise.
Definition of Excessive Noise
Excessive noise is typically loud stereos, noisy parties and the like. Deciding whether noise is excessive is a matter of judgement for the noise control officer. Noise control officers do not use decibel reading equipment for noise complaints.
Note: Noise in Rural Residential locations (excluding parties) should be referred to the Planning department.
Excessive Noise Direction
An excessive noise direction is a notice served by a noise control officer who, having investigated and assessed a complaint is of the opinion that the noise is excessive.
On receipt of an excessive noise direction, the music (or noisy equipment) must immediately be turned down to a reasonable level. The excessive noise direction usually applies for 72 hours. If the Council receives more complaints of excessive noise within 72 hours of the excessive noise direction being issued, and a site visit confirms that the noise is still excessive, the noise control officer and the police will seize the noise-offending equipment (the noise control officer cannot seize noise-offending equipment without the police being present).
Properties with a number of excessive noise direction notices issued will face monitoring by the Council and further action may take place - such as warning letters, confiscation of equipment and an abatement notice being issued.
Return of Seized Equipment
To reclaim seized equipment the offender needs to:
- discuss the issue with the Executive Manager, Planning and Environment, Central Otago District Council
- pay any costs incurred by the Council in seizing the equipment
- show proof of identity; and
- produce the original copy of the seizure notice.
Council has the right to refuse to return equipment where it is believed that it will be used to create further noise problems.