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Committee OKs car noise crackdown

The Evanston Human Services Committee Monday approved an ordinance that would increase fines 500 percent for people who have overly loud car stereo systems.

The change would raise the minimum fine for violating the ordinance from $10 to $100 and raise the maximum fine from $50 to $500.

The committee dropped a provision sought by the sponsor of the ordinance, Ald. Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward, that would have given police the power to tow the cars of people caught violating the ordinance, after Ald. Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, said that as the parent of teenagers he thought that was too severe.

Any sound system that can be heard more than 75 feet from the car would be a violation under the ordinance.

Evanston police have issued about 30 tickets a year under an existing state car noise statute.

Only Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, voted against the measure. He said he'd prefer an ordinance that targeted only the most offensive big bass speaker systems that shake resident's windows, rather than all car noise. He added that he only gets about one noise complaint a year from constituents.

Committee approval came on a 4-1 vote. With the support of Ald. Hansen, who's not a commitee member, the proposal has enough votes to win final approval from the full City Council.

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