City changes noise ordinance in business district
It’s been a year since the common council first addressed the ordinance, which was brought up after a group of residents living in Urban Park Towers began complaining about loud music coming from Lock 34 in the early morning hours.
Over the past few months, council members have met with Lock 34 owner Brian Junke asking him to turn the music down, reposition where the band plays or take steps to reduce the noise so they did not have to officially change the ordinance.
Junke agreed, stating he would lose approximately $20,000 to $30,000 a year if he was required to end outdoor music at midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends, instead of at 2 a.m.
He told the council that between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. are his busiest times, and if the music stops he would lose half of the people in attendance.
This past weekend Mayor Michael Tucker said he received a phone call from a resident at 1:30 a.m. who was complaining about noise coming from Lock 34. He said he went outside of his Beattie Avenue home and could hear the music playing.
This prompted him to speak to the police department where he learned there has been three official complaints over the past 12 months. According to Tucker, the reason for so few official complaints is police have nothing to enforce because the current noise ordinance for the downtown area does not have a time they have to stop by.
“There is nothing to give them the authority,” Tucker said.
He was also told by police that each night there is music playing at Lock 34, the department receives between 10 and 12 calls from residents.
He said the city does not want to do anything to hinder or make it difficult for businesses, but they have little options.
“We’ve tried to do what we could,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to be working. The rest of the city matters, too.”
Those living across the street would hear the music no matter what, Tucker said, but “when it starts affecting half the city” something has to be done.
The ordinance now states that entertainment at restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cafes through loudspeakers, live performances or other noise-amplifying devices within the downtown business district is allowed between 10 a.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday and then from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday though Thursday.
In other city news:
• The city’s Public Works Department was authorized to purchase two new trucks, as part of the adjusted borrowing for the capital improvement plan, not to exceed $200,000.
One Ford F250 XL will be purchased for $30,283 and a Ford 350 XL will be purchased for $49,568 through state bid.
• Permission was granted to Pete Robinson for the Winter Wonderland project scheduled to take place from Nov. 16 through Jan. 3, along Market Street between the Exchange Street Bridge and Cold Springs Bridge.
The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The city will allow on street parking along Market Street during event times and the use of the restroom facilities at Wide Waters Marina.
Organizers are also allowed to hang decorative lights on city owned property along the canal.