Noise enhancement designation on agenda for Winston-Salem committee

A proposed revision to the city of Winston-Salem’s noise ordinance would relax restrictions on nighttime noise from music and entertainment venues in designated so-called “noise enhancement areas.”

The Winston-Salem City Council’s public safety committee will discuss the proposed revision at its meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

Under the draft ordinance, nightclubs and concert venues would be able produced amplified sound heard up to 300 feet from the premises until 11 p.m. and up to 250 feet from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday in noise enhancement areas approved by city council. That contrasts with the current noise ordinance prohibiting “loud and disturbing noise,” including amplified sound, that annoys or disturbs “the quiet, comfort or repose of any reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities” in nearby residences.

City Manager Lee Garrity writes in a memo to Mayor Allen Joines and members of city council that the noise ordinance arguably “implies that reasonable noise levels can vary based on the location.”

Designated noise enhanced areas would change the standard to one “where noise emanating from a commercial establishment is regulated based upon standards that are more conducive to a vibrant entertainment zone and flexible depending upon the day of the week and the hour of the day,” according to the draft ordinance.

Under the proposed revision, designation as a noise enhancement area would require favorable signatures by at least 80 percent of the residents and businesses within 250 feet of the proposed area.

The owners of Ziggy’s and nearby property owners at Trade Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive brought the request to create an entertainment district to the city. Disclosure: YES! Weekly is published by Charles Womack, who is also a part owner of Ziggy’s and this writer works as a reporter out of an office housed in Ziggy’s building.

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