Councilman Nurse and the city sought input from downtown businesses and residents about the issue of loud noise coming from establishments and disturbing residents. There have been some proposed noise ordinance changes applying to sidewalk cafés in the right-of-way because of this.
These changes are as follows: Speakers shall be permanently mounted and oriented downwards or directly toward the sidewalk café. Speakers shall be identified on the approved plan for a sidewalk café permit. Indoor speakers located within 20 ft. of the doorway which opens onto the street right-of-way shall be oriented away from the doorway. No speakers may be placed in the right-of-way unless the abutting business has an approved plan in a sidewalk café permit which identifies the speaker locations. In privately owned outdoor places whenever possible outdoor speakers shall be oriented away from the right-of-way and residential properties. A possible change is that currently after 11:00 pm, in the right-of-way, sound may NOT be plainly audible to any person at a distance of 50 ft. Staff will explain the challenges in enforcing this portion of the ordinance.
Councilman Nurse speaks on this issue stating, “The responsible folks do that [place speakers appropriately]. We always have a few that do not, struggling bars usually are the ones to make noise to try and generate customers.”