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Noise applications bring home vs. play debate to downtown Raleigh

Posted January 27, 2015

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— 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.


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  • HeadsUp Jan 28, 2015

    Greg Hatem complaining about noise downtown is like a hooker complaining about Herpes.

    I mean, REALLY.

    Grow some stones, city council kittens.

  • Roy Blumenfeld Jan 28, 2015
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    I live less than 3 miles from downtown in a residential zoned neighborhood. I get the protections that come with that. Living downtown in the heart of the city does not get the same luxuries afforded to it. I believe that downtown should be for everyone; but trying to stifle the ability for businesses to thrive is not something I support. Especially with Hatem, who has a bar on Hargett Street that features sidewalk seating, windows that pull up, and a rooftop patio, leading the charge against competitors on Fayetteville St.

  • Ooorah Jan 28, 2015

    Almost every Downtown City that I have visited, it has an invited and lived atmosphere that draws you to it. This type of atmosphere helps to bring more local residents and tourist to Downtown, bringing new business and money to the Downtown District. People like to sit outside during the warm days and nights, being able to listen to some music while dining in one of Downtown Restaurants. The main reason why my wife and I don’t visit Downtown as often as we would like, it’s because is BORING!!! I agreed with KIEDISS Comment. I will love and hope to see Raleigh grow, thrive, and develop into a major city. If you want peace and quiet, you need to move to the Suburb.

  • Arthur Raleigh Jan 28, 2015
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    Why would you move into a busy business area if you want peace and quiet?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 28, 2015

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    What a childish statement.

    Go ahead and make the law say "It can't be too loud" and see how much progress is made. The type of sound, amplitude and measurement distance need to be specifically defined in detail. This will save money, time, lawsuits, aggravation, police enforcement time, calls to 911, yadda yadda.

    Save all that other stuff for 3rd graders who don't want what their little brother wants. "Billy has the Batman doll, so now I don't want one!" ;-)

  • JustSomeGuy_not_hans Jan 28, 2015

    I lived downtown for more than 7 years before marriage, children and the desire to have a normal weekend night prompted my move out. Living downtown (in any city) is a different lifestyle than living in the Burbs. For those 7 years I dealt with drunks, loud music, urine in places other than a bathroom, horrible parking and that was just from my roommate.

    There are several stories here but I have to agree that outdoor amplified music should not be encouraged. I always understood outdoor amplified music as a concert - Walnut Creek and the new-ish downtown amphitheater come to mind - not should ______ (restaurant or club) be rocking it out on the sidewalk.

    Downtown needs some balance if they want to create a sustainable environment. I agree with others, there was too much emphasis on Play and now it is starting to have an impact on Live and Work. But my input, like most here, is not relevant as I do not live in DTR any more.

    ]So Good Luck with that DTR residents! :)

  • kiediss Jan 28, 2015

    MOST of the city's residents want to see Raleigh grow, thrive, and develop into a MAJOR city with 1000's of options and tourists coming in every year.... like Atlanta. If the city council didn't have to waste time dealing with the backwoods people who are opposed to change... we can get on with progress. There's potential, but the agonizingly slow path of decision making that has been in place impedes the process. I'm optimistic our latest round of leaders can see past the noisemakers and continue toward growth..... if not we all lose as the city is passed up as the choice for conventions, tourism, major sports events..... I will be please when Raleigh looks like more of a downtown than Charlotte.... it's still so ridiculous that Charlotte looks more like the state capital than Raleigh.

  • sjb2k1 Jan 28, 2015

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    this is my initial reaction.

  • umop apisdn Jan 28, 2015

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    You've got it backwards. If I move in near a bar or area where bars are common/expected I can't complain when they do business. People want their cake and the option to eat it too.

  • PowderedToastMan Jan 28, 2015

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    So If I move in next to you and make a lot of noise, I can simply just tell you to move if you don't like it, right?