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Council shelves noise ordinance again

The noise ordinance that was supposed to bring clearer guidelines that would limit the amount of nighttime noise in Boulder City, was once again put back on the shelf during Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting.

With a unanimous vote, the City Council decided that a new noise ordinance was not ready to be put into effect just yet.

Factors such as getting individuals to agree on what constitutes a loud noise, determining a specific time frame for when noise can be made, and penalties for those who break the rule are issues that are holding the City Council from getting a new ordinance in place.

According to Mayor Rod Woodbury, the current ordinance is not really enforceable and lacks any teeth because of how vague it is. Though he does want businesses and residents to handle any noise problems among themselves, he realizes a new ordinance is needed to provide predictability throughout the city.

“I don’t know if it has to be decided today, or next year, or the year after that, but the sooner we can get some certainty underway, the sooner people will be happy,” Woodbury said.

The current code states, “In Boulder City, if you make or cause to be made a noise or sound in or about any public street, alley or park or any private residence which someone else thinks is loud, disturbing or unnecessary and they find the sounds you make are annoying or disturbing, you have violated the current code.”

Grant Turner, owner of The Dillinger Food and Drinkery and Forge Social House, voiced his opinion to council members about how a potential new ordinance could negatively affect businesses downtown.

“As the mayor put it in his State of the City speech, ‘You can sheer a sheep 1,000 times but you can only skin it once.’ I think this noise ordinance has the potential to skin several sheep by essentially handcuffing them,” Turner said. “If we didn’t have a nightlife in downtown, I think you’d see a drastic change in Boulder City. We are either going to thrive in the face of adversity or we are going to see some more plywood go up.”

Turner has owned The Dillinger for five years and believes his business has earned the right to use its best judgement on when to turn the volume down based on the small number of complaints he has received over the years.

Though the council did come to an agreement on postponing any changes right now, members did express different views on the ordinance itself.

According to City Councilman Rich Shuman, the current ordinance is getting the job done.

“It says to everybody, work it out yourselves, and 99 percent of the time I think that’s what has been done,” Shuman said.

On the other hand, City Councilman Cam Walker believes a new ordinance would be beneficial in many ways.

“I am in favor of a noise ordinance. The reason is because then people understand how to run their businesses and what they have to do,” Walker said.

City Attorney Dave Olsen claims officers in Boulder City have recently begun using decibel meters in order to determine how loud an event is. Anything over 70 decibels is above average and is considered in violation of the current ordinance.

“With the bypass coming we need to declare who we are as a city. Are we a city that is going to button up at 10 p.m. and go to bed? Or are we going to be a destination where people can come enjoy live music and give business to downtown,” Turner said.

No timeline has been set for when an updated ordinance will be presented to the council.

In other actions, the City Council also:

• Listened to a presentation by David Johnson, the deputy general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority on the Low Level Pump Station Project that is being constructed in Lake Mead.

• Listened to a presentation by the city’s Finance Director Shirley Hughes about the impact of the infrastructure surcharge and the Low Level Pump Station Project costs as related to typical residential and commercial customers.

• Approved Woodbury’s request to reschedule the council meeting from March 22 to March 29.

Contact reporter Juan Diego Pergentili at jpergentili@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @jdpbcreview.

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