Beaver Dam Council To Consider Noise Ordinance Changes Tonight

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council will decide Monday evening if there are going to be changes made to the city’s noise ordinance. The issue came up last fall when a citizens group voiced their concerns with loud music. While the group is specifically targeting one bar with their effort, the city attorney has noted during noise ordinance discussions that any changes would have a community-wide impact on business, commercial and residential properties.

City officials recently reviewed five options in committee, 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 for a vote tonight sets quiet hours between 11pm and 6am seven days per week.

Committee Chair Lisa Davidson said last month that adding specific hours would give teeth to the ordinance and provide consistent direction to law enforcement. Davidson noted that the ordinance could be amended on the council floor.

Those who called on city officials to make the changes are not in support of the compromise hours, calling the laws on the books “subjective” and saying the current plan does not address their concerns.

Bar owners we spoke with seem to be ok with the 11pm cut-off because they had followed that as a guideline anyway though they did express concern about the additional work an ordinance change would create for local police.

The motion was approved in committee last month 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.

This is not the first time that residents have complained about loud music from bars and other community events. Four years ago, a motion to change quiet time to 11pm to 6am was tabled indefinitely. Beaver Dam Police say as a matter of policy they have been enforcing an 11pm deadline for loud music.