Noise ordinance trial period extended one month
by Anna Oakes
The Boone Town Council voted 3-2 in February to enact changes to its existing noise ordinance following seven months of debate, public hearings and revisions. The ordinance amendments established permitted decibel limits for sound emitted from live music venues within business zoning districts.
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.
A violation occurs when measured noise exceeds the permitted decibel limits for one instance of 15 seconds or for two instances of five seconds or more within one minute. After four written warnings, subsequent violations of the ordinance result in $100, $200 and $500 fines.
Out of 14 complaints in May, Boone Police officers issued six warnings to live music venues in business districts for exceeding the permitted decibel limits established in the noise ordinance — five to Boone Saloon and one to Char.
During the four-month trial period, fines have not been charged for violations of the noise ordinance.
Councilman Andy Ball asked if the council had had enough time to understand all of the issues and if the council should consider an extension of the trial period. He also stated he felt the permitted decibel limits should be higher.
But town attorney Sam Furgiuele and Councilwoman Jamie Leigh said the violations of the noise ordinance seemed to occur with the same businesses repeatedly — not a majority of music venues with business districts.
“It's my understanding from talking to the police that there are more venues providing live music in town than there are on your violation sheet. You have some repeat business from certain businesses,” Furgiuele said.
Added Leigh, “I'm concerned because one particular business got five warnings issued in a month's period. We can't continue to go on in that fashion.”
Boone Saloon and Char have sued the town over the noise ordinance.