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Surf City considers amendment to noise ordinance following beach bar complaints from residents

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:45 PM EDT
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SURF CITY, N.C. (WECT) - The beach bars in Surf City are popular with tourists.

“The tourists enjoy the salty air, the cool summer breezes, the cocktails, and the live music,” said Ginger Boger, manager at The Trailer Bar.

But, some residents are complaining about the noise.

“Our music, sometimes with the wind and the way it carries, you know, the sound resonates back in their homes, and some of them recently have gotten a little bit upset with the noise,” said Boger.

To keep track of the noise and take action if necessary, the town of Surf City is considering an amendment to the current noise ordinance, in which police would use decibel meters to measure volume before issuing fines.

The decibels allowed in the ordinance were determined by council members at a noise demonstration.

Typically if the bars received a noise complaint, it was left up to an officer’s personal judgement to determine if the volume was too loud.

“When you leave it up to personal judgment, then you’re gonna have a big variance there,” said Surf City mayor Doug Medlin. “But, with a calculated meter then it should be the same. It doesn’t matter who’s judging it.”

Mayor Medlin knows businesses have had it rough during the pandemic and he doesn’t want to quiet their opportunity to rebound.

“They have to make their living and they can’t make their living closing up at 6 o’clock in the afternoon,” said Medlin.

For the beach bars, they’re looking at the change as a glass half full.

“Now we know our parameters,” said Boger. “We know exactly what we can do and what we can’t. We are very happy with the outcome.”

While town council is in favor of the change, the full ordinance will officially be voted on at the next council meeting on August 3.

The full ordinance can be viewed here.

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