As the Town of Parker's new noise ordinance gets up and running, one bar and grill on Main Street is working to improve how its live music impacts the community. The Tailgate Tavern at 19552 …
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As the Town of Parker's new noise ordinance gets up and running, one bar and grill on Main Street is working to improve how its live music impacts the community.
The Tailgate Tavern at 19552 Mainstreet has had an outdoor stage for live music for about three years.
“Every weekend for almost 10 years, we've had live music,” said Wayne Daniel, the sound engineer for Tailgate Tavern. “It's basically in the last two years that it's been a problem.”
Several people who spoke during the June 7 town council meeting where the new ordinance was approved mentioned Tailgate specifically during their complaints about noise. While the town hasn't named any individual businesses and says none are being targeted by the new rules, they've also said they started looking into the issue after receiving “a substantial number” of complaints about live music downtown on Mainstreet. After researching the topic, the town decided they needed to update the whole ordinance, not just the portion impacting downtown, said John Fussa, the town's director of community development.
The town's new noise ordinance, which mainly addresses outdoor amplified sound, added decibel levels to the law for the first time.
Now, businesses in the greater downtown area, where Tailgate Tavern is located, are permitted to play sound at 75 decibels from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and 70 during the week. In the evenings, the sound can be at 65 during the week and 70 during the weekend. In the summer, venues are allowed to play amplified sound for an additional hour on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Daniel said he's aware of the new ordinance, and Tailgate has already dedicated funds to improving the sound impacts and has plans to do more. Recently, the bar and grill spent about $20,000 on new line array speakers that focus sound on a specific area, minimizing overspill into the surrounding community, he said.
PREVIOUSLY: Noise complaits at Tailgate trigger new noise ordinance
The weekend the ordinance was enacted, Daniel said he took sound measurements that showed he was keeping the bar's music within the newly stipulated levels.
In the future, Daniel hopes to add more sound improvements, such as acoustic tiles or possibly an acoustic curtain on the patio, both of which absorb sound.
“I want to be compliant. That's why we spent so much money and so much effort,” he said. “My overall goal is to have loud sound presented to the customers of the Tailgate but not bother anybody else.”
Part of the reason for Tailgate's music being heard elsewhere is because it sits between two buildings, so sound bounces off of them and into Main Street, Daniel said. There are many other factors that impact the sound levels, including wind and the band performing that day, Daniel said.
While Daniel agrees with the new ordinance having specific decibel levels in it, he feels it will result in constant violations. He says that's because sound level meters will easily pick up pedestrians and vehicles passing by, interfering with the reading.
“How are they going to determine that we are the source of the volume?” he asked.
Daniel also said he thinks the decibel levels are skewed because the town study of ambient sound in the community was completed during an unusually quiet period — a November day during the COVID-19 pandemic. That study found that the town has average ambient sound levels ranging from 49 to 64 during the day.
Overall, Daniel thinks the updated ordinance is a good thing. It allows for a specific level or “line in the sand” that determines if Tailgate is in compliance or not, he said.
Daniel heard some of the residents who spoke during the meeting mention Tailgate and said he feels some of them just may not like living in an area that has any live music. He said those interested in engaging about the topic could show up at the bar and grill to meet with him.
“They could come down and talk to me,” he said.
While the ordinance was officially put in place June 27, as of June 29, the Parker Police Department was waiting on an equipment delivery before training its officers, according to a spokesperson for the department.
In the first three days of the ordinance, the police department received three noise complaints, according to the spokesperson.
The department plans to focus on education around the ordinance before enforcement. When the policy is enforced, a violation could result in up to $499 in fines.
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