UPDATE: Business owners want entertainment-friendly noise ordina - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Business owners want entertainment-friendly noise ordinance

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: It’s only been here three years, but many credit Track 29 for rebuilding the city’s south side.

“It’s not just us, this whole neighborhood becomes alive on show nights and it’s really great to see,” Flying Squirrel Co-Founder Max Poppel said.

“They’re bringing in acts that no one has ever brought to Chattanooga and so that’s bringing in tourist dollars,” resident Kelly Fitzgerald said.

That high note has a group of downtown business owners to push for a more entertainment friendly noise ordinance.

A group of neighbors have complained about the noise coming from the music venue.

Fitzgerald lives nearby with her husband but says she doesn’t consider Track 29 a problem.

“We also hear the train, we hear the generators that fill the train, we hear the fire engine. It’s just sort of background noise,” she said.

Nearly 2,000 people have signed the petition that want city leaders to see the bigger picture.

Track 29 told Channel 3 in a statement, “Track29 is a part of and supports this initiative, but it's not solely about Track29 as it has might have been perceived.  It's about the entire Chattanooga nightlife economy. It's about people on patios, restaurants, event halls, bars, venues, pedal pubs, music series, festivals, street performers, etc... It's about keeping what nightlife we have and being able to grow our downtown for businesses and residents alike. It's about progress and evolving into the city we hope to be. We continue to be compared to cities such as Austin, Asheville,  or Seattle, and we are far from these examples, especially where we are right now, BUT the point is that we can be. It's growing pains for our fair city. At the current noise ordinance level of 55db (day until 9pm) and 50db starting a 9pm, everyone is breaking the noise ordinance in some form or fashion. Based on a chart provided by the American Academy of Audiology- moderate rainfall is equivalent to 50db where  normal conversation is 60-65db. We along with our neighbors are simply are asking for a reasonable noise ordinance that is clearly defined with a clear governance for the future of Chattanooga nightlife.”

Poppel says owners need a specific ordinance that helps businesses operate.

“We’re not looking to bring in any crazy parties or any additional loudness with it. We just feel the ordinance needs to be updated,” he added.

Supporters say an updated ordinance is crucial to the growing social scene in Chattanooga and could hurt the Scenic City if leaders don’t act soon.

“Then we’re not going to attract the right venues of the right cultural aspects to the city that we want to build Chattanooga,” Fitzgerald said.

It’s important to note, the group that’s complained about Track 29 is asking that bass levels be addressed in the updated ordinance.

The Chattanooga City Council will have a public hearing on this issue coming up on July 29th.


UPDATE: This neighborhood in south side Chattanooga is mostly calm and quiet.

Until a show starts a few feet away at Track 29.

"It's frustrating because we can't have company unless we check the Track 29 schedule. It's very embarrassing," Jennifer Ray said.

Deb Royal has developed several properties in the area and wants to develop more but says the music from Track 29 is so loud, it keeps people that live here from having a good quality of life.

"When the bass is almost 100 decibels standing on the street, that's just not okay," Royal said.

Royal has gone as far as buying her own decibel reader and has recorded noise from Track 29's shows that are almost twice what the city allows. But she says the problem stems from the city's ordinance.

"If it gets cited to court, nothing happens. They can turn it up as loud as they want. There's no repercussions, there's no additions fines. There's no mechanism to make them turn it down," Royal added.

Moses Freeman is the councilman for District 8 which Track 29 and the neighborhood both fall under.

"We're trying to think outside the box to see if we can come up with something that will be enforceable as well," Freeman said.

Right now, the ordinance only addresses DBA levels. Royal would also like to see the ordinance address DBC levels, which is the bass from speakers.

"The DBA might be fine as far as the ordinance goes, but the DBC is off the chart," Royal said.

Freeman says the city is exploring sound proofing options, but has to be careful about changing the city's ordinance because it would affect the entire city.

"I think now that it's sort of heated up a little bit, we might be able to sit down at the negotiating table and figure out something to do," Freeman said.

Track 29 is known to bring some big names in music here to the scenic city.

But with the music comes a lot of noise, which some neighbors say is too much to handle.

Folks that live in the area behind the venue say it's a battle they've fought for almost two years. now.

One of them has gone as far as buying a decibel reader and says some shows have reached almost 100 decibels from across the street.

That's almost double what the city allows, so as you can imagine, folks are frustrated.

"It's frustrating because we can't have company unless we check the Track 29 schedule. It's very embarrassing," Jennifer Ray said.

Channel 3 also spoke with neighbors who say the sound doesn't bother them. We also reached out to the owner of Track 29, but our calls went unreturned.

Some just want the current noise ordinance to be clarified and repercussions for those who are habitual offenders.

Coming up on Tuesday, Channel 3 will break that down for you.

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