Noise ordinance trial period ends June 30
by Anna Oakes
The ordinance is placed on the agenda for discussion and possible action.
The Boone Town Council voted 3-2 in February to enact changes to its existing noise ordinance following seven months of debate and revisions.
The approved ordinance restricts sound measured at or within 10 feet of a venue's property line to 70 decibels from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday evenings and to 60 decibels from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings. On weeknights, the standards are 70 decibels until 11 p.m. and 60 decibels after that.
Higher limits of 85 decibels are permitted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
After four written warnings, subsequent violations of the ordinance result in $100, $200 and $500 fines.
Although no fines have been imposed throughout the trial period, Boone police officers have issued several citations for noise ordinance violations at live music venues throughout the trial period.
On June 5, according to meeting materials, Lt. Danny Houck interviewed Terry Taylor, one of the residents of the Orchard Street and Grand Boulevard neighborhood who spoke in favor of stronger noise restrictions throughout the ordinance revision process. Houck said he asked Taylor if the new noise ordinance restrictions had helped.
He explained that it had not, Houck wrote. Mr. Taylor stated that he felt that the noise level in his neighborhood has not changed.
In March, the owners of Boone Saloon and Char, represented by attorneys Jak Reeves and Tamara DiVenere, filed a civil complaint in Watauga County Superior Court over the changes to Boone's noise ordinance.
The petition for writ of certiorari claimed the ordinance is unfair and that the town acted both arbitrarily and capriciously in their official capacity as prohibited by law.
The petition further stated that the revised noise ordinance unlawfully prohibits petitioners from making the same use of their property that they have done for eight years and claims there was not sufficient evidence presented or facts found that would justify the town's decision to deny the petitioners the use of their property.
In April, town attorney Sam Furgiuele filed documents responding to the complaint on behalf of the town. The response alleges the petition filed by Boone Saloon and Char makes false allegations and claims the allegation that they are being deprived of the use of their property is false and made for the purpose of negatively affecting public perception, raising funds for an advertised legal defense fund and distorting the facts to receive a beneficial court ruling.
The response includes motions to dismiss the case and a motion for sanctions, including the payment of the respondents' legal costs in the case.