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May 29, 2014 12:34 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Downtown noise, turn it up or down? Merchants in talks with council member

TUCSON - With new restaurants, retail shops and housing, business is booming downtown. Some say literally booming and want the volume turned down.

Others are seeking to loosen the city's noise ordinance when it comes to the downtown core.

Talk of increasing volume isn't sitting well with everyone, even some bars in the area.

"Thursday, Friday, and Saturday it's just pulsing, pounding," says Bill Nugent. His family owns the Shanty, on 4th Avenue.

He says noise coming through the downtown underpass is a headache for customers at the Shanty and the Coronet restaurant across the street.

"They're just like we can't even have a conversation," says Nugent. "And we're surrounded by a lot of residential here. They're trying to attract residential downtown, other that students, and even the students are complaining about this."

HiFi Kitchen and Cocktails is among the bars people are griping about.

"If they do a noise ordinance downtown, downtown businesses will lose a lot of business," says employee Will Miller

"I mean there's an apartment right above this place," says Miller.

Any complaints above?

"No they come here because they're students," Miller answers.

Council Member Steve Kozachik says the current ordinance is set at 65 decibels, after 10 p.m.

"So if you are the homeowner and it's 65 decibels at your bedroom window that's where you cross the line," says Kozachik

That's hard to measure though?

"Yes and that's one of the problems, no we have to have a cop running around at 2am with a decibel meter and make sure they catch it. It's like catching a barking dog," says Kozachik.

His goal is to tweak the existing ordinance, while respecting the new demographic of people living downtown.

"I kind of hope the conclusion is self-policing in that we're not going to write a formal ordinance, that's going to require some cop to stand outside your bar with a decimal reader," says Kozachik.

So far, Kozachik has held one meeting on the issue, more are in the works.

If you have input, you can reach out to the Downtown Merchants Association at (520) 624-5004 or the Ward 6 office at (520) 791-4601 or ward6@tucsonaz.gov

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