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City Attorney: 'No Blanket Noise Restrictions'

Noise from concerned musicians and club owners has led Charlotte city staff to reconsider their initial proposal for a new noise ordinance. The plan would prohibit playing any amplified music outdoors if there's a residential neighborhood less than 400 feet away. City Attorney Mac McCarley said Thursday on WFAE's Charlotte Talks* that rule "sweeps in way too many people who aren't causing a problem." "We're (now) looking at something I've termed 'the bad actor model,'" continued McCarley. "If you're making noise and music outside and nobody's complaining and it's not a chronic problem, let's leave that alone. Let's not prohibit it. Let's not mess with it. Let's not regulate it." McCarley says he's now working with city staff on a new proposal that would only trigger noise restrictions on a business if people complain about it. Revisions to the noise ordinance were prompted mainly by complaints from residents of the Elizabeth neighborhood. McCarley says a popular bar called The Philosopher's Stone has logged the most noise complaints - 62 in the last two years. Meanwhile, residents of the NoDa neighborhood say they welcome outdoor music and don't want it silenced. McCarley hopes to present a revised noise ordinance at the City Council Community Safety Committee meeting Monday at 3 p.m. The public is also invited to comment at that meeting. *Noise Ordinance conversation begins half-way in audio.