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Ask the Chief: Be a good neighbor, mind the noise

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: I work nights, so I sleep during the day. My neighbor loves to listen to his radio loudly while he gardens, which happens to be near my house. What can I do to have a little more quiet in my neighborhood? A couple years ago, I asked him if he could turn the radio down a little, but this upset him and we are no longer speaking.

A: It sounds to me, no pun intended, that your neighbor is directly affecting your quality of life.

So how do you determine if a neighbor is too loud? If you can plainly hear the neighbor's music while you're inside a building, then it seems like the city's ordinance Chapter 10, Section 10.17, Noise may be broken. Section 10.17 states:

Subd. 1. No person shall make, continue or cause to be made or continued, any loud, and/or unnecessary noise, which is reasonably likely to annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others provided that this section shall not be construed to apply to singing or playing of musical instruments and other mechanical means inside churches, nor entertainments carried on in public buildings, where an admission fee is charged therefore, nor noise of manufacturing institutions.

Subd. 2. The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud and unnecessary noises in violation of this section, but their enumeration here shall not be deemed exclusive, nor the list exhaustive:

• Radios, phonographs, etc. The using, operating or permitting to be played, used or operated, any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of persons in the vicinity or at any time with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person or persons who are in the room, vehicle or chamber in which such machine or device is operated and who are voluntary listeners thereto. The operation of any such set, instrument, phonograph, machine or device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., in a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of fifty feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence for a violation of this section.

• Loudspeakers and amplifiers. The using, operating or permitting use or operation of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, loudspeaker, sound amplifier or other machine or device for the purpose of commercial advertising, campaigning, or the attraction of attention of the public to any building or structure.

• Yelling, shouting, etc. Yelling or shouting, particularly between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., or at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of any person in the vicinity whether outdoors, or within a structure.

There are other violations and exemptions to the policy; however these primarily address your concern. If you believe a violation has occurred, please contact the police non-emergency number at 651-385-3155. It is also important to note that city zoning requirements may restrict or allow certain activities day or night, and they may differ from residential to commercial property, which may also be affected by state or local sound limits.

I can't stress enough how important it is to be a good, respectful neighbor.


1. City of Red Wing, City Code, Chapter 10, Section 10.17, Noise.

2. Minnesota Pollution Control: