‘Noise’ Returns To Oswego Council Chambers

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.


  1. Mr Early has the point right, there was NO modification to any ordinance, nor was there any dismissal of an applied for variance. The postings and the following outrage from residents who just do not get it. The music will continue as long as they do not exceed the db levels set by the law. As i stated in the meeting, Memorial day to labor day make it 85 or 90 db till 12am with -0- tolerance for violations. If you get a complaint and the police show up , measure the db level and your over…here’s your ticket, and turn it down…pretty simple. Asking for that level till 2am is (in my opinion) excessive. The City Council HAS NOT amended anything…the ordinance was only stated not changed, with that people of facebook and other outlets lets get our facts straight !

  2. At the committee meeting, in his request, Robert McGrath said, “The variance being requested is not to exceed 86db.”

  3. What else is this city going to take away this is ridiculous, most of the west side is campus housing and what about the house parties that they have that are louder than anything going on at a bar !!! What about harborfest , classic weekend ! Is that going to be taken away next a small band at a bar shouldn’t be what needs to be fixed in this town who is it harming , isn’t there something else that this city can be focusing on besides taking away music during the summer it’s only a few months out of the yr that people in this city can go out and enjoy this please don’t take that way

  4. steve your right but you have failed to mention the the request was for a longer period….differing from previous years. I do not believe that this will come back as a request for variance. The impact of a false posting has done nothing but stir the pot in a very negative way for our community. At the meeting on the 20th there was NO ruling on the noise code, as many were led to believe. Robert runs a very nice place and is very active with the United Way, I do and will continue to frequent this establishment.

  5. That’s why I said “basically” the same as previous years in my original article. He also dropped Sundays from the request. Still going until 2 a.m. is a bit much. …I think maybe he toned it back a couple hours last year. It may have been someone else’s request, don’t remember for sure right now.

  6. The city has taken nothing away. The council merely took no action on a request for a waiver to the noise ordinance.

  7. You’ll see — McGrath will get what he wants— just like the corrupt the city is. The noise he puts out ont he weekends — I really dont know how anyone can sit there have a drink and talk with someone— its silly loud.

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