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Fort Worth Considering Changes To City Noise Ordinance

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth officials are gearing up to rewrite the city’s noise ordinance to make it more specific and ease enforcement.

During a public meeting at the Botanic Garden Center Monday night, Fort Worth’s deputy director of planning and development Dana Burghdoff said the changes include the use of a decibel meter.

“If you’ve got a resident complaining then we would measure the noise from their property line and we would use the residential level at their property line,” Burghdoff said.

As it stands, some of the biggest problems include, “Bars and restaurants, where there’s loud music or loud patrons and there are complaints from neighbors, and then the second one is animal noise – dogs and roosters to be specific,” Burghdoff added.

The plan is to rewrite a noise ordinance that some call vague and subjective. Current language includes offenses of “unreasonably loud noise.” The change would define specific noise levels that can be measured with a decibel meter.

Some businesses in the area say their biggest draw is having an outside patio and live music. They worry the new ordiance coudl get in the way.

“We get our occasional noise complaint,” said Clay Mazur, the owner of Capital Bar in the city’s Cultural District. “We are an outdoor music venue so our music carries.”

Mazur says they’re even about to make some changes.

“We are trying to build the walls round the stage area to get them 18 feet high with covered decks to keep our noise contained as much as possible,” says Mazur.

It’s all in an effort to keep the noise under control. In spots like West 8th Street, condos and apartments are being built near the bars and restaurants.

“Our building has a quiet policy from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. They try to keep it quiet,” says Christina Brock who lives downtown.

Proposed changes to the ordinance could also include a time limit of 10 minutes on how long your neighbor’s dog can bark before your neighbor is issued a citation.

The Fort Worth City Council could decide on this as early as March.

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