OSWEGO, NY – The Port City’s First Ward Councilor made some noise at this week’s Common Council meeting – to the tune of nearly 100 decibels.
Following another lengthy discussion by the public regarding a local businessman’s request for a waiver of the noise ordinance, Fran Enwright showed the standing-room-only crowd in the Council Chambers just what 95 decibels sounds like.
“One of the things we need to consider is what exactly are we talking about. How much noise are we talking about, so you can get an idea of what we’re voting for,” he explained.
A city police officer stood in the center of the Council Chamber with the same decibel meter used to check noise complaints. Councilor Enwright went to the far east side of the second floor and sounded an air horn twice.
He urged anyone with a complaint about noise levels at the Clubhouse Tavern, Spencer’s Ali or wherever, to get together and “come up with something that is workable that you can bring to a committee so we don’t get something like this, 90 decibels for four months out of the year. Every one of us here is willing to work with variances; and, most of these events are for one day.”
His committee took no action on the request at the Jan. 20 meeting, he noted.
“Which means, let’s go back to the drawing table, come up with something we can work with,” he said. “The current maximum for downtown commercial is 65 decibels.”
There was no resolution regarding the waiver on the council agenda.
But it did generate a bit of comment prior to the meeting.
James Early, a resident of the Fifth Ward, made “a plea for honesty” during the public session.
He pointed to a posting he said was on the Spencer’s Ali Facebook page, which said the council “…has decided to amend the noise ordinance effectively making it impossible to have live music.”
“That statement is patently false. There was no amending of any sort of ordinances,” he said.
(Editor’s note: the meeting in question was a committee meeting, not a council meeting. And, no action was taken on the waiver request.)
The post, Early added, has drawn some “outrageous” negative comments.
“Heaven knows we have a lot of challenges in this city. But, the last thing that we need is for people to be spouting off and talking about things that are just patently untrue,” he told the councilors. “We don’t need to tear the city down any further.”
James Enwright, of the First Ward, said he had heard that there was a variance request being made through one of the committees to increase the decibel level, noise level, in various wards of the city.
“I think it’s unreasonable for a citizen of this city to have to endure loud outdoor music playing past 10 or 11 O’clock at night,” he said. “I think that people deserve a good night’s rest. I’ll be honest, last summer it was almost impossible to sleep with the loud outdoor music.”
Social media is no place for politics, James Toy, a Fifth Ward resident, said agreeing with Early’s comments.
“If you have something to say, this is the forum in which we do it,” he said referring to the public session. “To bash this government, which has been challenged quite heavily, is ludicrous. For those that hide behind Internet postings, I implore you, stand here and talk face to face.”
There are bigger fish to fry in Oswego than the noise ordinance, he said, adding that college students create more noise than the bars.