The decision was divided and changes were made to the city attorney’s original proposal before the vote.
The noise became a shouting point during the city council meetings. In a four to three vote on Tuesday, District E Councilman Alan Jackson’s amended noise ordinance passed.
It now allows nightclub’s music levels from speakers to reach a decibel level up to 85 until 2 a.m. then must be lowered to 80 decibels after that. He said the statewide standard is 85 such as the noise ordinance in New Orleans and OSHA standards are at 95 decibels.
“I put the legislation up for 85. I believe that was fair. We want our downtown district to be able to grow. To have levels where you can go up to 85 in order to anticipate a growth spurt. Downtown should be a vibrant area. We want our millennials to come back home. So we wanted to create an environment where they can enjoy themselves,” Jackson said.
The noise ordinance came before the council after residents and businesses wanted a way to reign in a local nightclub’s music and Shreveport police could not enforce the outdated law. The city attorney originally proposed a decibel system of up to 70 from an area outside. Which was favored by residents wanting the noise ordinance and fellow councilmembers.
“I went and heard 85 and it is drastically louder than 70 or 75. So you’ve got patios all over town and you’ve got bars in your district councilman Jackson they’re going to be play[ing] music at 85 DB until 2 in the morning. I’m not sure your residents are going to like that,” said Gary Brooks, City Council District B.
“I’m definitely not voting for 85. I’m not a sound person. But I’ve heard from the residents and businesses downtown. I’ve seen what is going on and how loud it is,” said Grayson Boucher, City Council District D.
“The downtown nightlife it doesn’t equal creating an atmosphere that is deafening. We’ve heard from many residents in the downtown area who’ve purchased real estate not just an entertainment district but to actually start their businesses and live in the downtown area,” said Jim Taliaferro, City Council District C.
Jackson said Shreveport police will only measure the sound from an outside distance away from a venue.
According to the CDC, 85 decibels is similar to the sound of gas-powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers or standard city traffic (inside the car).
“We want to be respectful of those who are living downtown. So what we noticed is when we went inside their buildings and closed the door, the decibel levels are significantly lower. So they’re not hearing 85 from inside their homes,” Jackson said.
The noise ordinance takes effect immediately. Shreveport police have purchased decibel readers to measure sound from the source of the complaint.