Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Council endorses limits on loud music

Hailey leaders to review ordinance 2 more times

Express Staff Writer

    Those eager to turn up the volume in Hailey may soon have to adhere to a more complicated set of guidelines if they want to stay out of trouble with the police.
     The City Council voted Monday to amend a city ordinance that regulates concerts and other events that could impact the tranquility of neighbors. City Attorney Ned Williamson said the new regulations would be considered “complicated or thorough,” depending on one’s perspective.
    The council will hold a public hearing before having a second of three readings of the proposed new ordinance on March 3 at City Hall.
    City leaders have been dealing with public criticism since extending the hours for a concert at Wertheimer Park last summer. The new ordinance was designed to assure neighbors of some peace and quiet during summer, while setting firm regulations on music events.
    “People won’t have to worry about hearing it [loud music] every night,” Councilwoman Carol Brown said.  
    Williamson presented a chart that lists three overlapping sets of criteria for amplified sound permits, park reservation permits and special-event permits.
     All events, except for “extraordinary” ones that the city deems of significant benefit to the community, would be limited to 90 decibels, measured at the property line of the event. The levels would be restricted for music produced from both indoor and outdoor sources.
    The hours for events with less than 250 people would be limited to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Those would include weekly concerts at the Wicked Spud and the Sun Valley Brewery.
    Sound levels measured by the Hailey police at the Wicked Spud during the last three summers ranged from 78-87 decibels.

People won’t have to worry about hearing it [loud music] every night.”
Carol Brown

    Sound levels at the property line of the Sun Valley Brewery registered 90.5 decibels in August 2012, a level that would now bring a warning and possible citation from the city.
    The city’s highest recorded sound levels were recorded at the Hailey Rodeo Arena during last summer’s Fourth of July Rodeo. The sound during bull rides, with added crowd noise, reached 93.5 decibels, said Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter.
    Events with 1,500 or more people would be allowed to play until 11 p.m. Those would include the Northern Rockies Folk Festival at Hop Porter Park. Events at parks with less than 250 people could proceed without a permit from 10 a.m. until dusk.
    The new ordinance would allow the city to pull out all the stops for “extraordinary” events with more than 1,500 attendees, including, but not limited to a concert by the Rolling Stones, Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said. In such extraordinary cases, the city could allow for extended hours and increased volume, perhaps even into the wee hours and well over 90 decibels in loudness.
    “In case they ever play in Idaho,” Haemmerle said.
    In other Hailey news:
- Hailey Community Development Director Micah Austin said Shopko is interested in opening a retail store on Main Street. “It will be an uphill battle for them because it would require an up-zone,” Austin said.
- The council will consider in coming weeks reducing from $400 to $75 floodplain development permits for small projects, such as gardens, that do not create significant impacts.
- The council will also consider reducing the cost of sign permits for temporary signs from $30 to $20, and increasing the cost of permanent sign permits from $30 to $50.
Tony Evans:

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