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Deadwood revises noise ordinance

June 22, 2018 GMT

DEADWOOD — Monday, the Deadwood city commission approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s current noise ordinance, establishing acceptable decibel (db) readings, boundaries, and an overall standard for enforcement.

In order to arrive at the proposed changes to the ordinance, Olivia Jacobs of Jacobs Gallery, chair of a committee appointed by Mayor Chuck Turbiville tasked to review the ordinance and establish proposed changes, said members of the committee walked around town June 1 — a Friday night — with a decibel reader to determine current noise levels.

As proposed in the newly amended ordinance, acceptable decibel levels for normal sound are: 60 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the residential zone for normal sound and 70 in the commercial or business zone at all times.

Exceptions have been amended to include “live entertainment in commercial zone provided the max db at boundary does not exceed 80 db.”

Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker, who served on the committee summed up the changes.

“If you have speakers on the outside of your building, you need a permit, but if it’s live music, no permit is required. It just can’t be above 80 decibels at the complainant’s property line,” Kuchenbecker said.

The definition of “boundary” has been changed to mean “the reporting party’s property line.”

The definition of “live music or entertainment” has been changed to mean “any person or group performing in person.”

The committee also proposed changing the noise restriction time from back from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

“Because 6 a.m. on a weekend is kind of ridiculous for your next-door neighbor to start mowing their lawn,” Jacobs said.

Commissioner Sharon Martinisko asked Police Chief Kelly Fuller if he was involved in the revision.

“Yes, I think we can try it, and if it doesn’t work out, we can always try to amend it,” Fuller said.

“It’s a starting point,” Martinisko said.

“Yes,” Fuller said.

“Are you satisfied this will address the issue of music downtown?” asked Commissioner Gary Todd.

“Yes,” Jacobs said.

The application portion of the ordinance will be reviewed annually and city commissioners will take into consideration a record of previous violations. Any permittee who receives three or more violations in a calendar year shall be automatically reviewed by the city commission at its next meeting for consideration of any additional action including revocation of the permit, according to changes made.

The police department will investigate, issue citations for violations.

As set forth in the ordinance, violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Each day that any violation of the ordinance is in effect shall constitute a separate offense.

The changes come, as members of Deadwood’s Main Street business district raised concerns at the May 21 city commission meeting regarding varying levels of noise, mainly music during the day, coming from speakers and businesses up and down Historic Main Street.

Jacobs pointed out that it’s not just businesses that raised concerns, but Main Street visitors, as well.

In 2015, an amendment to the existing noise ordinance was proposed but not passed.

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