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City may loosen regulation of live music downtown

The downtown music scene could go later into the night under a proposed ordinance change the City Council will consider in August.

The Downtown Advisory Board recommended allowing longer hours in light of the growth of downtown as an entertainment district and the desire of bars and restaurants to maintain air circulation by having open windows and doors, according to a staff report.
The council was scheduled to act on the amendment last week but agreed to delay consideration until next month at the request of Councilman Jerry Smith, who asked for more time to review it.
City staff recommended closed doors and windows for amplified music or noise only from midnight to 11 a.m. The Downtown Advisory Board went further in favor of live music, recommending in an 8-2 vote that the council bar amplified music open to the street only from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m.
In what they called a compromise to balance "the encouragement of downtown residential growth and the ability to enforce ordinances," city planners recommended that the outdoor sound would be prohibited from midnight to 9 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m.- 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
The ordinance update also includes defining the civil penalties for violations.
“Technically, they are in violation of the noise ordinance if they have sound" that can be heard outside, City Manager John Connet told the City Council. Although the city has not received complaints, the police department was concerned that enforcement would be difficult under the current ordinance. Several restaurants and brewpubs downtown have live music and often have open doors and windows. "This was an attempt to modify the ordinance to allow these new establishments since the noise ordinance has been put in place," Connet said.