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Council Members Compromise and Raise Noise Ordinance to 75 dB Three Nights a Week

By Jesse Wood

In a 3-2 vote on Thursday night, the Boone Town Council voted to raise the decibel limit for live and recorded music from 70 to 75 dB on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights throughout Boone.

Council Members Quint David, Jennifer Pena and Fred Hay supported the measure, while Council Members Lynne Mason and Rennie Brantz opposed raising the limit.

Raising the limit those three nights proved to be a compromise as Hay and David motioned and seconded raising the limit seven nights a week. However, the other three council members weren’t on board with louder music the entire week.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback for increasing the decibel level [across the board],” Hay said, after a Mason talked about concerns she has heard from some citizens on increasing the noise level.

Hay wanted to raise the level throughout the week because bigger acts play in bigger towns on the weekends and are more inclined to play in the High Country on an off night.

Councilman Quint David noted that the vast majority of noise complaints come from residential areas and not businesses. He mentioned looking at the “big picture” to see that more than 600 noise complaints came from residential areas last year, while only 20 complaints came from businesses. David wondered aloud to his fellow board members that were in opposition and asked essentially, “What number [of noise complaints aimed at businesses] is to much in a college town?”

“What should we expect 1, 5, 10?” David said.

Council members didn’t have an answer for David.

Mason maintained her mantra that she was trying to find a balance between a “vibrant downtown” and providing quietness for those residents that may become sleep deprived and disturbed up until 2 a.m. because of music.

Brantz said, “I think the ordinance is fine.”

Pena preferred to only raise the ordinance on the “traditional party nights”for college students at ASU.

Hay quipped back, “When I went to college it was Sunday night through Saturday.”

During public comment, at least four people spoke on the topic with three favoring raising the noise ordinance. Those in favor included Pete Catoe, owner of ECRS, attorney Charles Brady and The Local owner Colton Lenz – all three of which operate in downtown Boone.

Those in favor reiterated the reluctance of national acts to perform in town during the weekend and that Boone has a musical heritage and culture that should be fostered for years to come.

The one person to speak against raising the decibel levels was Terry Taylor, who lives at Grand Boulevard and whose household has called the Boone Police Department to complain about noise coming from the Boone Saloon by far the most times of any other household, according to Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford.

Taylor said that raising the level would just contribute to more complaints and that the noise ordinance was already working in favor of local establishments. He also added that those in favor of increasing noise levels haven’t provided data on how the current noise ordinance is negatively impacting local businesses that have live and recorded music.

However, Lenz, who spoke next, said, “With all due respect, I couldn’t disagree more.”

After members of the public and then the council members rehashed their thoughts spoken at the previous two or three meetings on this very topic, council voted to raise dB level on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

On Thursday evening, Boone Saloon took to Facebook with a little Bon Jovi message:

“Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer.
Noise Ordinance got bumped up to 75 dB Thur, Fri, & Sat. Fred Hay, Jennifer Pena, and Quint David voted Yes! Lynne Mason and Rennie Brandtz voted Noooo.
All we need now is the rest of the week.
Woah, we’re half way there”

Read prior articles about this topic, click here.