Greensboro noise ordinance begins test run

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Greensboro City Council voted to take the city's proposed noise ordinance for a test run, but that has some people wondering whether the city's ultimately going to cater to the people who live downtown or those who have businesses downtown.

Greensboro city leaders have been trying for weeks to figure out how loud is too loud in the downtown area. Mayor Robbie Perkins can see and feel the Greene Street Club from his downtown office.

"I have been up here late at night working and windows vibrate, so it's pretty loud," Perkins said.

But on Tuesday night, council voted that, for a 120-day test period, the acceptable noise limit would be increased from 70 decibels to 75 decibels after 11 p.m.

"That's a significant change because the 70 decibel I think would have been better," said Grady Green, general manager of Greene Street club. "We are a little worried that the level is not very high."

The club has been an opponent of the city's noise ordinance changes. While an increase from 70-75 decibels would technically allow more noise, the new ordinance measures the noise much closer to the original source than the current ordinance.

"It had to come to a boiling point sometime, and we just happened to be the business that happened to be at the center of it all when it did all erupt," Green said.

Summertime is the peak time for the club's rooftop.

"Businesses get more busy, and then you have to raise the music to go above the people talking in the club. So therefore, I don't believe anyone knows what level they have to operate at." Green said.

Perkins said dealing with downtown's noise is like dealing with growing pains.

"We have a growing downtown, and that's a good problem to have," Perkins said. "We wouldn't be sitting here talking about noise if our downtown wasn't going in the right direction."

However, Green isn't sure he knows what that direction is.

"I believe there's no clear understanding of what anybody wants for Greensboro, city-wise. Right now they're getting a lot of pressure from individuals that are wanting it to grow one way in the downtown area, and then obviously they have our side who's trying to grow in a different direction," Green said.

Council plans to pass the new ordinance at their next meeting. At the end of the 120-day period that started Tuesday night, they'll discuss the ordinance and see if any changes need to be made.