City in a Quandary Over Downtown Entertainment Noise Levels

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 7/30 6:43 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF-TV) - How can Chattanooga encourage entertainment venues downtown, while offering relief to residents who say the music is too loud?
City council has struggled with that question for several weeks now, and the city attorney's office is preparing an ordinance which is not likely to completely satisfy either side.

Music venue Track 29 has already added some acoustical material but nearby property owners wish they could cut down on the loud music a little more.
Deb Royal owns residential property less than a 100 feet away.

DEB ROYAL, DEVELOPER "They're a good thing..they fill a niche, people love it my kids go there, it's a great thing..just be a good neighbor."

Council heard from both sides at a public hearing Tuesday night.
Jerry Mitchell is leading the effort.

JERRY MITCHELL, CITY COUNCILMAN " We need an ordinance that will also be demanding on those businesses and have some teeth in it...so that the residents of the downtown community could be protected also."

WADE HINTON, CHATTANOOGA CITY ATTORNEY " So with this ordinance what we've tried to do is ensure there was a stepped up enforcement process. One of those steps includes that these venues have to get a permit and if indeed they are in violation of this ordinance, there's a possibility that permit could be revoked or suspended."

Attorney Hinton says the city will consult with acoustical engineers in determining audio levels.
One acoustical engineer was at the hearing but didn't speak publicly.
She sides with the residents,who she says are not necessarily against downtown entertainment venues.

NOELLE CURREY, Phd., ACOUSTICAL ENGINEER "If I'm standing in my yard, and I have one the adjoining properties, I would be subject to levels that are reaching into hearing loss..and become a federal issue."

DEB ROYAL "I have well over a half million dollars invested in this area...I'm struggling for my livelihood."

The actual wording of the ordinance may change before it goes to a vote.
The ordinance, as it now stands, would allow audio levels of up to 80 decibels until midnight.
Council is expected to vote on it in two weeks.


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