Have you ever had an annoying neighbor that has to mow the lawn 3 times a week at the crack of dawn? Have you ever wondered what the law is about early noise in Missoula? Let's get into it.

Here is the setup. For the past few months, a huge construction project has been going on next door to me. I have no idea what they are building either. It could be a set of new apartments or a new business maybe. At the is point, even a spaceship or time machine isn't out of the question. Seriously. What takes 3 months to build other than a soccer stadium?

I want to preface this by saying in no way am I coming down on the working man. I've worked many construction gigs and have nothing but respect. Here is where I'm a little torqued, however. Why does everyone need to start loud outdoor projects so early in the morning and what is even legal when it comes to starting time and decibels in Missoula County?

At first, I went to the actual county noise control chapter web page, and that is a rabbit hole I won't even get into.  It lists out different zones and decibels for each zone and then it gets weird from there.

The basic rule of thumb that I have found through a bit of research is from 7 a.m to 7 p.m in Missoula residential zones the acceptable decibel level is 60. 

While from 7 p.m to 10 p.m it drops to 55.

How loud is that exactly? As it turns out 60 decibels is not loud at all. Looking at this chart it says it's about as loud as a normal conversation. Well, a construction zone with hammers and saws, etc is much louder than that.

I'm going to do some more local research because what is listed in our city ordinance does not line up at all with actual construction noises. Even mowing your lawn in the middle of the day would be considered illegal. The fine for excessive noise is a misdemeanor and up to $300. I don't want to be a narc and get some hardworking construction workers in trouble, but at the same time, something isn't lining up here. Stay tuned...

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