Music from Fiestas Patrias fest draws complaints
By Dan Moran firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2013 2:26PM
Updated: November 17, 2013 3:21AM
Complaints about noise emanating from Belvidere Mall during the Fiestas Patrias festival on Saturday, Sept. 14, prompted calls at this week’s City Council meeting for strict enforcement of ordinances governing excessive sound at special events.
“The volume on Saturday from early afternoon until after dark was off the charts, over the top,” 9th Street resident John Belmonte told the council on Monday, Sept. 16, adding that the noise “permeated all the houses all the way to 10th Street,” which is a half-mile south of the mall.
Belmonte told the council that he hoped “there is some way the city could have some control over these things to keep a public event from becoming a public nuisance and disturbing the peace and quiet of your residents.”
In agreement was 3rd Ward Ald. Gregory Moisio, who said “I’ve got to live probably a mile, two miles from Belvidere Mall, and I could hear (the noise) as clear as the day. That’s ridiculous. You can’t do that to people.”
“That is entirely too loud if you can hear it miles away. Entirely too loud,” Moisio added. “I don’t mind a community event, but we have a few of them that seem to go on and they just think that they can just play and carry on as loud as they want for everybody to hear.”
The city’s noise ordinance does ban any sound “for purposes of entertainment” that is audible 50 feet or more away from the point of generation. However, an exception is made for sound generated during “a parade, public assembly or athletic event” for which a permit has been obtained.
While Saturday’s event did have a special-event permit from the city, the ordinance book also states that applicants for a permit must submit “an appropriate plan for the control of sound” when applying for permission. Moisio suggested that the city use that caveat as an enforcement tool.
“We have an ordinance,” said Moisio, “and I think if it gets too loud, when the (next) permit gets filled out let them know — ‘If this gets too loud, and the neighbors call and the police come, we’re shutting you down. The music’s off. Sorry.’”
Mayor Wayne Motley told Belmonte on Monday that “I understand your concern, and we will address this.” City officials reportedly spoke with Fiestas Patrias organizers on Tuesday about controlling sound levels during future events at Belvidere Mall.