SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Major changes are being proposed for the City of Shreveport’s noise ordinance after an ongoing feud between two downtown nightclubs.
What started with complaints centered around one downtown nightclub will now affect businesses and churches across the city.
A town hall meeting took place on Thursday where city officials outlined what is being proposed. The city attorney said it stems from a problem with policing. The current ordinance puts enforcement in the hands of the city’s engineering department rather than the police. This ordinance looks to change that and regulate the decibel levels based on the type of establishment.
Police Chief Wayne Smith said his limited number of officers are having trouble policing parts of downtown and it is costing taxpayers.
“In some cases, the music is so loud the officers cannot communicate amongst themselves. I’ve had to send 15 to 25 officers who are desperately needed in other parts of town, to this part of downtown each weekend. We’ve been spending between $7-10,000 a weekend for extra officers to work in that area,” Smith said.
Recently the club Haze on Texas stirred controversy for loud music leading to what some call unruly behavior spilling into the streets. The owner of the Sandbar and Phoenix nightclub has reported it to city officials. Both owners attended the town hall.
“Haze on Texas is being targeted because we’re the hottest club downtown and we have a rooftop,” a representative from the Haze on Texas said.
He asked if people’s backyard barbecues would now be affected because of his club’s popularity, and was told yes. The law would be citywide but differ based on the type of establishment.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where we’re scooping in behavior that we’re not trying to regulate. But we wanted to make sure that police have the tools necessary to enforce it,” said Marcus Edwards, City Attorney for Shreveport.
Edwards said the noise ordinance was first established in 2011 to address fracking noise from the Haynesville Shale and was not designed specifically for nightclubs. So it needed updating.
Shreveport police would be tasked with reading decibel levels from a designated distance outside. Nightclubs and entertainment venues would be allowed a decibel level of up to 70 while other establishments and private property would be a lower level set at 65 to 50.
Owners also would have to get a permit based on their type of speaker system.
“So if you’re venue is desiring music playing through speakers or devices of that sort you now have to go through this newly proposed implemented process to be able to do so,” said Manushka Gracia-Desgage, Assistant City Attorney for Shreveport.
City councilmembers Alan Jackson and Tabatha Taylor attended the meeting, asking questions about how this would affect people’s private parties and businesses across town. Councilwoman Taylor requested a noise engineer to show examples of the different decibel levels at the next council meeting in order for the council to be informed before they vote on the ordinance. Councilmembers Gary Brooks and Jim Taliaferro also attended the town hall.
Chief Smith said his officers would meet with individual business owners to establish the line where the noise would be considered too loud and clearly designate the decibel levels for churches and other entities.
This proposed noise ordinance will come before the council at their next meeting on Monday and Tuesday.