Written by Gary Childers
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 13:18
After spirited debate and disagreement among Town Council members over what they felt were appropriate and inappropriate decibel levels a new noise ordinance passed by a narrow margin with three in favor and two opposed. It became evident early during the discussion
that Council members Allan Scherlen and Andy Ball were in favor of higher decibel levels and Council members Lynne Mason and Jamie Leigh wanted to hold them at their originally proposed levels. This left Council member Rennie Brantz as the “man in the middle” who suggested compromise levels.
Lynne Mason set the stage for the discussion by reading the written goal of the ordinance to the audience, “The goal of the town is to encourage such activity while insuring that time periods when many of the residents are customarily at rest or have an expectation of a peaceful environment are not disturbed by unacceptable noise levels.” Following this opening each Council member shared the basis for their opinion as to what the decibel levels should be. Council member Scherlen stated his support for levels at least 10 decibels higher for the following reasons, “Talking to people, reading their emails, thinking about it myself, I believe there are four basic areas: economic, cultural, protection of the neighborhoods, and safety.” With a stalemate looming Council member Brantz suggested a compromise of increasing the levels 5 decibels higher and allowing for a trial period to see how the levels were working. Council member Jamie Leigh echoed her support for the trial period as follows. “They just want their music loud—I get that. And they want a good, vibrant community—and I get that. But I don’t think that they know that 85 is the number that will get us there.” Mason made a motion to approve the noise ordinance with the 5 decibel increase proposed by Brantz as reflected in the following table. Provisions in the motion also called for enforcement of the ordinance in the business district to be complaint driven, that it be revisited by Council after a four month trial period from March through June, and that no fines be assessed during the trial period. The motion passed with Mason, Leigh, and Brantz voting in favor. Scherlen and Ball voted against the motion due to the decibel levels not being raised as far as they had lobbied for.
The decibel level limits governing live, recorded, or amplified music are;
Sundays, 2:00 A.M. – 7:30 A.M.; 60 dB
Sundays through Thursdays, 7:00A.M. - 11:00 P.M.; 70 dB
Sundays through Friday mornings, 11:00 P.M. – 7:00 A.M.; 60 db
Friday Mornings, 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.; 60 dB
Fridays and Saturdays, 10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.; 85 dB
Sundays, 12:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.; 85 dB
Fridays and Saturdays, 10:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M.; 70 dB
Saturdays and Sundays, 12:00 A.M. – 2:00 A.M.; 60 dB