City Council Members Considering Revisions To Noise Ordinance

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

City Council members on Tuesday went over possible revisions to a new noise control ordinance for the downtown sector with some calls for lowering the acceptable noise level.

Councilman Ken Smith said he wanted to see the allowable dB(C) levels go from 95 to 90. Councilman Moses Freeman said they should be at 85.

Council members Carol Berz and Russell Gilbert said they wanted to make sure that the new ordinance was not setting a precedent that could be carried over to their areas of town.

Councilwoman Berz said she had "fought the battle" over clubs on Brainerd Road that had neighbors up in arms. She said the problem there was not only from bass instruments, but from singers at microphones.'

Councilman Gilbert said some noise levels "can crack your windows and cause heart attacks."

The current ordinance stretches the district to 4th Street. One proposed change would drop it back to 7th Street.

Chairman Chip Henderson said many of the businesses and attractions toward the riverfront are "family-friendly" and should be out of the new district.

It includes the Chattanooga Choo Choo, where the Track 29 club is located that has brought complaints from some neighbors. The Choo Choo is planning to add more clubs.

There will be a 3-member Noise Control Board. It was proposed that the Council chair make one appointment and District 7 and 8 Council members make one each. 

A citizen told the council there should not be a rush on passing the ordinance and said, "It's unfair to push this on one part of the city and not on others." 

Joe Petrie asked the city to do a nighttime demonstration of the top sound that would be allowed under the ordinance. He said, "The numbers mean absolutely nothing to me. We need to hear what it will sound like."

The first vote on the ordinance is next Tuesday night. 

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