Stonington police won't act to silence dirt-biking teen

Mystic - Stonington Board of Police Commissioners Chairman Scott Bates said Thursday night that police will not take action to stop a teenager from riding his dirt bike on his family's Richmond Lane property.

Neighbors of Mason Fusaro, 15, have asked town officials and police to stop the teen because they said the incessant noise is disrupting their neighborhood.

Bates said the police department's recent use of a New London police department noise meter showed Mason's motorcycle noise was within legal limits. State law specifies noise limits for motor vehicles, but those typically apply to vehicles on public roads, not on private property.

"After consulting with the State's Attorney's Office in New London, Stonington police officers have received feedback that they are proceeding in a prudent manner on this matter; therefore prosecution of a case based on noise, unless circumstances change or an officer feels probable cause now exists, will not occur at this time," Bates wrote in an email on Friday.

Bates pointed out that the town does have a nuisance ordinance that limits noise, but it applies only to noise made before 6 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. on Sunday. Bates also pointed out that the town has a zoning regulation that specifies noise levels in residential areas. No zoning violation has yet been issued to Mason's family.

First Selectman Ed Haberek, the town's acting director of planning, could not be reached to comment Friday as to whether a violation would be issued. He has said in past weeks that he is consulting with the town attorney, looking at noise ordinances in other towns and considering whether the nuisance ordinance should be modified.

Bates wrote that while it is up to the commission and police to comment on public safety proposals, "it seems poor precedent for this commission to develop law enforcement regulations centered on particular incidents in which no apparent violation of the law is taking place."

"In essence, this would be creating a change in the law for the sole purpose of pursuing an enforcement action against a particular individual. It may not be good practice for the authority that enforces the law to be the sole creator of the law," Bates wrote.

He said that if any change in the law is to take place, it should involve broad community participation because a change would affect all residents.

"The car mechanic who has to rev engines for testing his work, the homeowner who has to use a chain saw or woodchipper to clear out storm damage in her yard, the garage band practicing to make it into the big time," all would be affected by a noise ordinance, Bates said.

"These are our friends and neighbors. All those needs must be taken into account when developing broad based public policy," he said.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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