TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the City Council pass an ordinance that would loosen noise restrictions downtown?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | 9:18 a.m. CST; updated 3:59 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On Monday, the Columbia City Council tabled an ordinance aimed at relaxing the city’s noise restrictions downtown.

The ordinance was originally proposed in September of 2009. It was in large a reaction to a dispute between Shiloh Bar & Grill at Broadway and Fourth Street and a resident who lives on the other side of Broadway. Rick Rother complained about the loud noise coming from the bar, which prompted its owner to build an 8-foot plywood fence facing Broadway to prevent noise from traveling across the street.

Under the ordinance, the definition of a noise violation would change from the current one, which says a violation occurs if any noise can be heard from at least 50 feet away between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The proposed limits would increase that distance by as much as six times, 300 feet, depending on the time and day.

The ordinance raises the question of whom the city should be protecting: business owners who benefit from keeping their restaurants and bars open late or residents seeking quiet in their homes.

Should the city council pass an ordinance that would loosen noise restrictions downtown? Should the city be more concerned with the preferences of business owners or downtown residents?

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Rob Weir February 17, 2010 | 9:58 a.m.

Is "relaxing" the ordinance the right term? Sounds as though they're making it more strict by increasing the distance at which you can be penalized. Relaxing it would be decreasing the distance. Or am I missing something?

(Report Comment)
Victoria Wesley February 17, 2010 | 8:32 p.m.

How is this even an issue? Downtown started as a business district, residences came later. If you move in above a restaurant, or a bar, or a club, you know what you're getting into. In fact, you're probably living in the area BECAUSE of those things. The same things for people who live in close proximity, down the street, etc. Simple solution: think twice before you move into one of these residences with the hope that "the noise probably won't be too bad." If you have doubts, then don't sign the lease or take out the mortgage.

(Report Comment)

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