I’m just going to come right out and say it: the fact that Boise has sunshine until 9:30-10 p.m. is absolutely wild to me. I was born and raised in the state of Texas where the sun would set around 8:30 p.m. or earlier. With the brutal summer heat that I and others experienced in Texas, it’s not uncommon to wait until sundown to start mowing the yard. You know – because you don’t want to melt.

As I was helping get my kiddos ready for bed the other day (the first day we hit triple digits), we heard someone mowing their grass next door and it was loud. It was right around 9:30 p.m. and while it wasn’t a problem for us, I imagine that it would be for the skilled parents that actually have their kids tucked in by 9:00 p.m. On the other hand, I totally understood why that person was mowing their lawn at the time they were. No one loves to mow their yard in triple-digit weather with the sun beating down on them.

This had me wondering what the rules should be on something like this? Do people suck it up and mow their lawns before 9 p.m. and deal with the heat to avoid a noise complaint?

Photo by Bharath Raj N on Unsplash
Photo by Bharath Raj N on Unsplash

According to archived articles on NoNoise.org, Ada County approved an ordinance back in 1997 that banned “loud or offensive noise that is audible 100 feet or more from the source between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.”

Now, if you’re like me, you’re thinking “I’ll just mow at 9:00 p.m., knock it out, and be done.”

Turns out we’re wrong! According to the Idaho legislature, Title 18 says:

Every person who maliciously and willfully disturbs the peace or quiet of any neighborhood, family or person, by the loud or unusual noise, or by tumultuous or offensive conduct, or by threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight or fighting, or fires any gun or pistol, or uses any vulgar, profane or indecent language within the presence or hearing of children, in a loud and boisterous manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Notice how there is no mention of time. That’s because time doesn’t matter and if your neighbor isn’t thrilled to hear you mowing while getting ready for bed at 8:30 p.m., they can call the police and you can get cited for disturbing the peace. A story from Idaho News 6 confirmed this back in 2017 when the City of Boise shared that you can “end up with a disturbing the peace citation, no matter what time it is.”

Sure, this could be bad news for anyone who isn’t wanting to mow their yard during the day but if the law states the time doesn’t matter… should we just take our chances? Should I ever assume the role of “bad neighbor” and take advantage of that law to get the kids in bed before 9 p.m.? I would love to hear your thoughts on noise complaints!

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