(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Administrative Committee Monday night reached consensus on changes to the city’s noise ordinance. The issue came up last fall when a group of residents voiced their concerns with the loud music coming from local bars and other community events. The committee looked at five options rejecting ordinances that established quiet hours between 10pm and 6am; staggered quiet hours on weekdays and weekends and required a permit from the city for outdoor music. The ordinance that advanced to the full council sets quiet hours between 11pm and 6am seven days per week.
Committee Chair Lisa Davidson says adding specific hours would give teeth to the ordinance and provide consistent direction to law enforcement. Davidson notes that the ordinance could be amended on the council floor. She hopes though that the council does not stray too far away from the recommendation because of the months of work has been put into building a consensus around the ordinance that advanced out of her committee. The compromise won no supporters from those who had been in favor or against the proposed changes.
Shaun Hilliard was among those who brought concerns over loud music to the city, noting that items in his house would vibrate when loud music was played on weekends. Hilliard says “this was not really about this time…the whole point was to be able to enjoy [their] property and the police not enforcing the ordinance on the books because it is too subjective.” Hilliard says he is disappointed by the lack of leadership in the community.”
Thirsty Beaver bar owner Dani Hansen says her business already followed the 11pm guideline and by making the ordinance citywide it will be taxing on the police department. Co-owner Mark Christensen says they are concerned about the sound and are looking at options for controlling sound better, bringing in professionals to look at sound barriers and other techniques.
The motion was approved in committee with four members in favor, two against and one abstaining. Those who voted against the ordinance in committee indicated a support for having different quiet hours on the weekend. The full council will hold a public hearing and vote on the ordinance change at their May 21 meeting. Four years ago, a motion to change the timeframe to 11pm to 6am was also tabled. Beaver Dam Police say as a matter of policy they have been enforcing an 11pm deadline for loud music.