Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 24, 2014

Committee to discuss festival noise

TRAVERSE CITY — City commissioners who are drafting new policies to govern festival use of the Open Space and other parks will revisit the question of whether to adopt a stricter noise ordinance.

A committee of three commissioners will meet today at 2 p.m. at the Governmental Center to decide if the city needs a noise ordinance, and also to confirm the group’s work on a fee structure for festivals.

A recommendation for a stricter, city-wide noise ordinance that is enforceable by police will hinge on the decisions of Commissioners Ross Richardson and Barbara Budros.

Commissioner Gary Howe opposes a new noise ordinance for festivals that are held on city parks.

“I’m satisfied with the noise ordinance we have for high-impact festivals,” Howe said. “We just need to be more vigilant with the policies we already have in place.”

A new noise ordinance would adopt the C scale for measuring noise and would include measurement of low bass sounds. The city’s park policy already includes a C scale limit for festivals, but hasn’t been enforced. Adopting it as part of a city ordinance also would allow police to enforce it against other noise complaints, such as a car stereo or private party.

Richardson, who chairs the committee, doesn’t expect to resolve the noise ordinance in one meeting. He also anticipates more meetings to discuss minor issues in the policy, including parking, how long tents can stay up after an event, and the use of generators and associated noise.

“What I hope to accomplish (today) is to get a resolution on the fee structure and we’ll talk about noise, but I can’t imagine we will reach a resolution on noise,” Richardson said.

Budros missed a Jan. 16 meeting when Richardson and Howe agreed on festival fee increases; both said their positions haven’t changed. But Richardson wants to run through them again briefly with Budros and formally adopt a resolution they can send to the entire commission for consideration.

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