A proposed change to Greensboro's noise ordinance that would make the decibel levels lower (and thereby stricter) was removed from city council's agenda last night after it met with opposition from some members prior to the meeting. District 4 Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann, who had suggested a decreased threshold from 75 to 65 decibels after 11 p.m., said she asked for the item to be pulled but said it may still need to be revisited.
"I think that it’s an issue
that we need to reconsider but we may need a little time to work through that," Hoffmann said, adding that some council members liked the ordinance as is while others may be open to revisiting it. "The police chief now is
actually looking at some better or more sensitive equipment that can be used."
Changes to the city's noise ordinance early last year were controversial and was met with fierce opposition from club owners, patrons and other residents. The ordinance affects the city as a whole but the discussion was focused on a rift between downtown clubs and residents, with developer Roy Carroll as the face of those pushing for a stricter ordinance. Carroll, who built Center Pointe on North Elm Street and lives in the building, later said he would back candidates that supported his point of view in the fall 2013 city council elections.
Hoffmann said the issue had been framed as a battle between Carroll — who leaned heavily on the police department and city council before it was put on council's agenda — and Greene Street Club, but that she had received calls from residents throughout the city, including in her district. One even complained about noise from the Greensboro Coliseum, she said, which is exempt from the ordinance. Hoffmann, whose district does not include downtown, said she has heard from several downtown residents who are still unsatisfied with the ordinance.
"In terms of the downtown
business area, you have a number of constituencies," Hoffmann said. "What you’re always trying
to do is to get to the center so that no group or no constituency is
unfavorably or negatively impacted. There’s always lots to learn, you’re always
trying to get to the best possible situation and solution to an issue or problem. I think
that’s where we hope to get to at some point in time."
Hoffmann said there may be ongoing antagonism between Center Pointe and Greene Street, but said the current ordinance has a decibel threshold that is higher than Greensboro's peer cities, such as Greenville, SC or Raleigh, and that the current method of measuring noise may not adequately address the booming bass tones in some music. Hoffmann said the ordinance may be addressed in the coming months.