EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – There is concern among bar owners over a revised ordinance from the Evansville City Council, regarding changes made to address complaints about noise levels at local restaurants, bars and businesses.
By a vote of 5-4, a revision of the city’s 2018 noise ordinance passed the council during a heated meeting on Monday night.
“If it is after 10 p.m. on the weekdays or after 11 p.m. on the weekends, then they will – the police will – be able to go and ask them to shut down the noise,” says Councilwoman Angela Koehler Lindsey (R – 5th Ward).
The change would give police officers discretion to issue citations for excessive noise, instead of the current law which mandates the use of a decibel meter to determine the issue.
One member who opposed the revision is baffled by the rationale behind the change.
“I feel like I’ve taken ten steps back and I’m in a Footloose movie, where we can’t dance and we gotta stop the music,” says Councilwoman Missy Mosby (D – 2nd Ward).
Other members are also troubled by the apparent subjectivity of the ordinance as written, putting police in a difficult position
“To ask them to be judge, jury, and executioner for sound… it just seems like a misuse of important resources of the cities,” says Councilman Ron Beane (R – At Large).
Some local bar owners feel this is an arbitrary standard, and will result in targeted enforcement and harm their respective businesses.
“We never got a chance to ya know, show our side, or ya know, do anything to help the so-called problem at hand. I feel like it’s overreach and I just feel like it’s not right,” says Chad Brady of Marina Pointe and Bud’s.
Councilman Zac Heronemus (D – 3rd Ward) said in a statement to Eyewitness News that the ordinance would not at all hurt local businesses, and questioned the motives of bar owners and a fellow Councilmember – alleging a conflict of interest.
Bar owners say they just haven’t seen the proof to justify the change in language.
“Ya know, if we had 75 police calls and it’s costing the city money; if so many tickets had been written… I understand those numbers, but I haven’t seen any of that,” says Jessica Nuffer of Bokeh Lounge.
While the public debate continues, the revised ordinance immediately goes into effect.