Greensboro loosens tent ordinance, postpones outdoor noise ordinance

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Greene Street Tavern is known for its large outdoor tent and its live music. (WGHP)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro City Council loosened tent rules two weeks after the owner of a popular live music venue said it would affect his business.

Council voted unanimously Tuesday to change its tent ordinance to match what the state law allows. Now, tents can be up past 10 p.m. and stay up for 180 consecutive days instead of just 60 days.

The city sent three businesses a note in January that they were in violation of the tent ordinance. One of those notified was the Greene Street Tavern, known for having a big rooftop tent. The owner said the ordinance would hurt his business.

A second organization, the Sherwood Swim and Racquet Club, found out last week their structure was no longer considered a tent and therefore exempt from the tighter restrictions.

Village Tavern was the third business that received a letter from the city.

In a related vote regarding nightlife, council voted to postpone a proposal to change an ordinance involving outdoor music at commercial venues.

The current ordinance sets the level of tolerable noise at 65 decibels, or what sound experts have measured as normal conversation from about five feet away. The new ordinance would drop that level to 45 decibels, or the equivalent of raindrops.

The ordinance would also measure the noise level closer to an establishment, the interim city attorney said at the meeting.

The current ordinance starts enforcement at 10 p.m., but the new ordinance would push that back to 11 p.m. Violators would face fines instead of misdemeanors.

The ordinance vote was tabled until the first council meeting in March, as several councilmembers felt there were too many unanswered questions.