Winston-Salem committee to discuss noise ordinance proposal

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Public Safety Committee will discuss a proposal to change the noise ordinance Monday night that some councilmembers believe is a compromise between neighbors and business owners.

The meeting will be only the first discussion of the issue and has several more steps to go before it heads for a possible vote.

"We have to look at some of the things that are stopping our businesses from growing, and it seems at this particular time that the noise ordinance is one of those," said Councilman James Taylor Jr., who is also on the committee.

The ordinance calls for the creation of "noise enhancement areas." Taylor explained how these would work.

"In order to qualify for the noise enhancement area, a particular person would have to come before city council to request a petition," Taylor said. "The petition would have to come along with 80 percent approval of all of the residents and business owners in a particular area."

Hank Perkins, who owns property in downtown Winston-Salem, said the city needs a new policy so developers can expand business in the area of two famous live entertainment establishments, Ziggy's and The District.

"What we've learned in the history of 4th street is that if we don't make accommodations with the existing property owners and then introduce residential to that, with the existing noise ordinance, it creates a lot of challenges," Perkins said.

Perkins said he prefers creating an entertainment district, which would allow more noise in the area.

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