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Downtown Raleigh businesses work to balance noise, residents

Posted November 4, 2009

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— Raleigh's growing nightlife is putting the city's noise ordinance to the test. Businesses are required to get a permit for outdoor music. However, not everyone is complying with the rule and the City Council is hearing complains.

“You have someone who has their doors open, and not really disturbing most of the folks that are around and enjoying it. And then you have a couple of people saying they are disturbed, how do you solve that problem?” Attorney Billy Young asked.

Young represents a number of downtown bar and restaurant owners. He said the trouble some of his clients are having is that they want to open their doors to help welcome customers. But the owners fear they will then violate the city's noise rules and face fines.

Changes to the noise ordinance, which took effect July 1, allow police to assess civil fines for violations, starting at $100 per day for a first offense and $300 per day for additional offenses within 12 months. People have the opportunity to appeal a fine to an arbitrator. Previously, police could charge someone with a misdemeanor for violating the noise ordinance.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen recommends businesses apply for a permit covering outdoor amplified sound. He said that will help keep downtown enjoyable for all.

“We haven't had as much mixing in the past and we're growing up as a city. And we're learning and we are educating each other as we go through that process,” Allen said.

The permit aims to educate downtown business owners so that they know when music is too loud and how long music can be played.

14 Comments

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  • cary1969 Nov 6, 2009

    long story short..pay us money and you can play your music without penalties

  • stephoney Nov 5, 2009

    Soooo how much does it cost to get this permit? Or how long? I feel that is some key info left out of this article.

  • atc2 Nov 5, 2009

    Can we stop these pathectic complainers from appearing in front of a weak city council team? Raleigh is 10-15 years behind development. We have visionaries like the Soleil owner who want to continue to lift Raleigh to a new and better level. This should not even be an issue. Focus on the developers who are not good at what they do (Empire with a buidling half finished and a empty lot sitting next to a new convention center, where a 30-40 story building should be sitting, not a 10-15 story building or two small ones). Crank up the music. Anyone living downtown who has an issue, move to the burbs.

  • ncwebguy Nov 5, 2009

    *Who* is complaining??? Is it other clubs trying to get the competition shut down? Anyone in a condo who complains should be laughed at. Downtown has revived because neighbors ran the bars off of Hillsborough, out of 5 Points, and out of the Longbranch/Hodges area. They belong downtwon, as do residents who want a vibrant city life.

    The "piece of paper" shows the owner (and hopefully managment) has acknoweledge what volume of noise is acceptable at various times of day and what isn't.

    The clubs mareid listed were shut down due to violence, though the city did use the noise ordinance law as a crutch to shut them down. The sad thing is an overly safe hip hop club is a boring/unsuccessful hip hop club, and finding the right balance is difficult/impossible. A club in the former Club Oxygen (or on Wilmington Street south of the mens shelter), should work since there are few/no neighbors. But keeping the violence down is easier said than done.

  • slaterric Nov 5, 2009

    I agree with most of the comments here so far. It is just like the people who move to Cary and Morrisville and complain about the noise from the airplanes passing over their houses. Why did they buy a house near an airport in the first place. Whiny people...

  • mareid Nov 5, 2009

    As a person who has partied all over Raleigh this situation has always been a problem when it came to other style clubs that catered to hip hop for example Kamikaze,Tablous,Taj Mahal,Plum Crazy,Supper Club we have always been closed down because of 'noise ordinance'laws when downtown Raleigh did what they wanted to do now that the hip hop clubs are few they have to find some other venue to mess with.You can stand on the truth not a lie check history. I feel sorry fo rthe clubs and bars downtown because we have been through this already over and over again,the residents complain but its really the city generating more cash.

  • cmmitch2 Nov 5, 2009

    For the businesses that want to keep their doors open, how about installing an inner set of doors? Then you can keep those closed to keep the noise and heat inside, and leave the outer ones open to attract people in.

  • greentara Nov 5, 2009

    Serves them right for buying overpriced condos downtown anyway. I guess they didn't research the area. Why would anyone live downtown and not even have a grocery store to get to?

  • NCPACKER Nov 5, 2009

    Old Raleigh residents keep downtown from becoming more than it can be.

  • Journey985 Nov 5, 2009

    I agree, people have been complaining for years that we needed to revitalize downtown raleigh, now that we have done this, and the business' are returning they want to complain? PLEEEAAASSSEEE!!!! In case you have not noticed across the WORLD, cities are noisy!!! Like others said, if you don't like the noise downtown fo find yourself a house in the sticks somewhere. I for one have lived here 20 years now and watched the city deteriorate. It is nice to go down there and have something to show people and to be proud of!

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