Noise applications bring home vs. play debate to downtown Raleigh
Posted January 27, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Striking a balance between home and play will, once again, be left up to Raleigh city council members.
This time, the neighborhood is downtown Raleigh.
The owners of eight Fayetteville Street bars and restaurants – Coglin’s Raleigh, Common 414, Paddy O’Beers, Capital City Tavern, Southern Hospitality, The Oxford Pub, Zinda and Jimmy V’s –recently submitted applications for “outdoor amplified music” permits.
“We don't actually want to have outdoor amplifiers,” said Zack Medford, co-owner of Coglin's, Paddy O'Beers and Common 414. “This is just about creating an inviting atmosphere for our guests by being able to prop the doors open. It's not about speakers. It's about being able to open outdoors.”
But Greg Hatem, who lives downtown and owns several area restaurants and buildings, doesn’t want the neighborhood to turn into Glenwood South.
“The community here and the hundreds of people that live here feel like they'd rather be the vibrant community, and have more diversity in the businesses, and they would like to be able to sleep at night,” he said.
City leaders hope a new Glenwood South Hospitality District will help quell tensions between neighborhood residents and business owners. The effort, a one-year pilot program, provides clarity on outdoor noise levels and fosters more interaction between bar owners and residents to address noise complaints.
In the past, increased police enforcement of noise complaints in the area, known for its nightlife on Friday and Saturday nights, led bars to seek new outdoor sound permits to keep their doors propped open while music plays inside. Each permit required a city council hearing, which could last for hours as businesses and neighbors squared off.
As for downtown Raleigh, Medford doesn’t see a problem with leaving a few doors open.
“I don’t anticipate any major problems by us opening a door and letting a little music waft out,” he said. “In fact, I think a lot of people would like it.”
City officials will hold off approving any “outdoor amplified music” until March, at the earliest.