HAYWARD -- That car trunk full of bass that rattles windshields from three lanes away and the nightly karaoke broadcast by less-than-talented neighbors soon both could be punishable offenses, as the city looks into revising its 50-year-old noise ordinance.

The city will hold a community meeting Thursday to discuss the matter, which is expected to go before the City Council in the first quarter of next year.

Suggested provisions would allow fines for people who make too much noise based on both decibel levels and more subjective standards, such as how appropriate or disturbing the noise is, or proximity to residences or places people sleep.

For example, under the draft presented to the city in October, a car stereo that can be heard 50 feet away on a city street -- about the width of a four-lane highway like Foothill Boulevard -- would be subject to citation. That same car parked in a residential driveway could be cited if the music is heard 25 feet away.

That's too far, Councilman Olden Henson said.

"If I can hear it, if their windows are up and I can still hear it -- that's too loud," Henson said. "If you are sitting alongside someone at a red light and you can hear their music, that can be an awfully long wait for a 30-second light."

The draft ordinance says violators would be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for each subsequent offense in a three-year period.

But how it would be enforced -- and whether it would be -- are concerns that still need to be addressed.

"It's a good ordinance, but it's only as good as it can be enforced," Councilman Marvin Peixoto said.

He said that while campaigning in the Upper B Street neighborhood, he heard of complaints stemming from apartment complexes. But the noise would go down when the police arrived, and go back up as soon as they left. "How are we going to address that part of the enforcement?" he said.

There also are concerns about retribution from neighbors angry about being reported.

"Some neighbors are afraid to call," said Supervisor Gail Steele, who lives off Upper B Street and agreed that it's a problem in the area. "And (the noise) isn't a danger of life and limb, but it can make you insane."

Thursday's meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. in Room 2A at City Hall, 777 B St. For more information, visit the city website at www.hayward-ca.gov or call 510-583-4300.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Community meeting on changes to the Hayward noise ordinance
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Room 2A at City Hall, 777 B St.
INFORMATION: Visit the city website at www.hayward-ca.gov or call 510-583-4300.