Greensboro Council Considers Changing Noise Ordinance After Complaints and Lawsuits

10:12 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Greensboro City Council will talk about potential changes to the city's current noise ordinance at Tuesday's meeting.

The city of Greensboro is having a tough time finding a happy medium and WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford found that council members could be back to the drawing board.

It's been more than a year since council members passed the noise ordinance but complaints about the measure are still coming in.

The city's also in the middle of court cases with two downtown clubs because of noise violations.

READ: City Of Greensboro Sues Downtown Business For Violating Noise Ordinance, Attorney Says

Some council members say the current ordinance isn't working and they need something better.

"The job of the city is to draw what that line is. Some people and establishments are going to be on one side of it. Others are going to be on the other," said Mujeeb Shah-Khan, Greensboro city attorney.

Right now, Greensboro police use a device that measures the decibel level. If someone calls to complain, police will take a reading and if the noise coming from a business or home is more than 75 decibels, it could mean a citation up to $200.

By the third complaint, the city sues the business to recover the money owed and prevent future citations. That's why the city is in the middle of lawsuits with Greene Street and Syn & Sky, two downtown nightclubs.

Now, the city is considering a new way to measure the noise. It suggests using a new, more precise scale to measure the decibel levels. This scale takes into account lower frequencies like a bass. It means you're more likely to be in violation of the 75 decibel threshold than you were with the old scale.

Shah-Khan added, "The city thought if we would make changes. Do you make a change by simply saying, you change the decibel number, or do you do you look at something a little more comprehensive?"

Councilwoman Abuzuaiter told News 2 that she thinks the ordinance should stay the way it is. When she tested the new scale, she found that every business is going to be in violation.

Councilwoman Hoffman thinks changes should be made and the current 75 decibel threshold is too lenient.

City council plans to talk about the noise ordinance at their next meeting on Tuesday. They're going to take public comment on the issue as well.

WFMY News 2

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