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Neighbors Worry New Noise Ordinance Won't Be Enough

The new approach to limiting noise problems in Charlotte isn't winning over neighbors of bars and restaurants that feature live music. Tracey Mullis brought her one-year-old son to the City Council meeting yesterday to speak for her Dilworth neighborhood. "I have a concern that the hours being extended to 10 or 11 o'clock at night would decrease the value of my home and also impact my home life with a young child," said Mullis. "I am in total support of the music community. I just am concerned that making the ordinance so liberal doesn't allow citizens a lot of protection." Mullis lives just behind several restaurants with patios and live music on East Boulevard. The revised noise ordinance is designed to single out the city's handful of chronic noise producers. If neighbors don't complain, a business wouldn't be forced to comply with the new ordinance that allows noise up to 85 decibels until 9 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends. Current city ordinance limits maximum noise at about 60 decibels and it must be over by 9 p.m. Members of the Charlotte City Council Community Safety committee yesterday indicated they think the new rules may be too lax. They did not take a vote. A spokesman for the citizens group Save Charlotte Music says the city is on the right track in honing in on trouble makers without inhibiting live music citywide. The city's latest proposal actually allows music to be slightly louder than what Save Charlotte Music proposed.