Huntsville citizens complain about noise at Draft Bar, Humphrey's, Jaidyn's
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 02:09
The Draft Bar, Humphrey’s and other local bars are under fire after multiple complaints about high levels of noise from Huntsville citizens flooded city council, leading to the possibility of a new city noise ordinance.
The Huntsville City Council will discuss and possibly vote on the ordinance in Tuesday night’s meeting.
LaRue Smith, the owner of Bluebonnet Apartments located behind Jaidyn’s, brought forth the complaint to the council in June.
“We ask that the [current] city ordinances be enforced,” Smith said. “[The bars] seem to think that the law is not intended for them and have indicated so with their arrogance in their words and actions.”
Smith said her business has been “bombarded” with patrons of the bars urinating on her property, yelling obscenities in the night and using the apartment’s private dumpsters.
Humphrey’s manager Jimmy Wackett said that the bar only plays music until 1:00 a.m., but they hope to extend their hours.
“We try to cut off our live music because [we] know there is some sort of ordinance around here,” Wackett said. “I do check the perimeter when we have music. It doesn’t seem very loud to me.”
Wackett said that the bar has been approached by Huntsville Police Department about noise twice in the last month, and both incidents were after 11 p.m.
“You’re [near] a row a bars,” Wackett said. “It’s a college town. You have to expect it. To me, personally, it’s not that bad. I mean, they’re listening for it. They have to be listening for it.”
Smith said that there was no excuse for the bars to be loud late at night, and that the city should act on the issue.
“Living in a college town should not be an excuse for our laws to be ignored,” Smith said. “Students can still drink and party, but there should be zero tolerance of noise that disturbs our citizens after 11 p.m. These businesses can easily control this problem.”
According to City Secretary Lee Woodward, no more complaints have been officially made to the council since June.
City Manager Matt Benoit, the old Huntsville-wide sound ordinance isn’t enforced using a set standard.
“My understanding is we’ve had the same ordinance in place for some 30 years,” Benoit said. “Basically, it’s a reasonableness standard. If the officer pulls up and says it’s loud enough that neighboring properties… [are] likely to be bothered by this. It would be up to the officer’s discretion to say ‘turn it down.’”
Benoit said that there is a gray area with the current code because it’s up to an officer’s discretion.
If passed, the ordinance will dictate that from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., any noise above 65 decibels is out of code. From 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., any noise level above 0 decibels is out of code.
“As proposed, starting at 11 p.m., you can’t amplify music outside,” Benoit said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s being amplified at two decibels or 220 decibels. That’s what the council will consider [tonight].”
Benoit said that if passed, state law requires that notice of the ordinance be published twice in The Huntsville Item and will take effect Sept. 27.
Tarek Maalouf, owner of The Draft Bar and Jaidyn’s Place, did not return calls for comment after The Houstonian made multiple attempts to contact him.
The Huntsville City Council will meet Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m.