Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 16, 2013

City ponders new festival restrictions


Mayor Michael Estes said he doesn’t expect any fast decision on the park use policy because the public needs more time to digest it and the commission more time to discuss it. But he hopes the commission will introduce the noise ordinance for adoption at its next regular meeting.

“If the city commission can abate some of the noise problems, I think the other issues will start to go away,” Estes said.

The proposed ordinance would change sound requirements to include lower level, bass sounds. The ordinance would apply to all events, not just festivals. A violation warrants a one-time, maximum $500 fine. But it also puts a festival in violation of its permit, allowing the city manager under the parks policy to order the event halted if it doesn’t lower the sound, wrote city attorney Lauren Trible-Laucht in a memo.

Mark Walter, who does the sound for National Cherry Festival concerns as general Manager of Sound Environment LLC, said the new limits overall aren’t much more restrictive that those that exist now.

The lower limits may prevent some acts from playing at the Open Space, but it won’t be a problem for the Cherry Festival, he said.

Walter took extensive sound readings last year in city neighborhoods during the National Cherry Festival’s Foreigner concert and said they would still fall below the proposed limit.

“We’d be a lot closer, but we’d still be under it,” Walter said. “It means you’ll never see any acts ... bigger than the Cherry Festival’s.”

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