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Columbia City Council tables noise ordinance amendment

Monday, February 15, 2010 | 11:55 p.m. CST; updated 5:20 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 17, 2010

*CORRECTION: Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade and Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe voted against tabling the proposed downtown noise ordinance. First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz, Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser and Mayor Darwin Hindman voted to table the ordinance. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the vote.

COLUMBIA — Opponents and supporters of the downtown noise ordinance can sleep smiling tonight knowing the other side didn't win. But, the battle isn't over yet.

In a 4-3 vote Monday night, the Columbia City Council tabled an ordinance that would loosen the city's noise restrictions downtown. Council members said they delayed their decision for two months because of a need for more research.

Currently, a noise violation is defined as any noise that could be heard from at least 50 feet away between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The proposed ordinance limits are:

  • 300 feet on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • 150 feet on weekdays from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • 300 feet on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • 50 feet every day from 2 to 7 a.m.

Representatives of the Special Business District said its board had voted neither for nor against the proposed ordinance, but they asked for more time.

Carrie Gartner, Special Business District director, said her organization wanted to be included in the process of researching and creating a new amendment. She said the proposed changes might be "the perfect solution. But we don't know because we haven't done the research."

"Our concern is that not all constituents were involved in the process," Mary Wilkerson, chairwoman of the Special Business District board, said. "Residents were given no opportunity to participate."

Downtown resident Rick Rother said he was never consulted despite being the "primary complaint." Rother, who lives across the street from Shiloh Bar & Grill, complained about the bar's loud noise.

In response to the complaint, Shiloh owner Tom Atkinson consulted an acoustic engineer and erected an 8-foot plywood wall facing Broadway to prevent the bar's noise from reaching neighbor's homes.

Last year, the Historic Preservation Commission drafted a letter asking the city to find a permanent solution at Shiloh, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, that involved removing the plywood wall.

John Sudduth, the city's building regulation supervisor, told the Missourian last September that the wall violates no city ordinance.

Atkinson declined to say whether he would remove the wall if the noise ordinance amendments are passed. Atkinson was the only person present, who did not speak against the proposed ordinance.

"It's not perfect, but it's an excellent start," he said.

Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade and Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe voted against tabling the ordinance.

First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz, Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser and Mayor Darwin Hindman voted to table the ordinance.*


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