OSWEGO, NY – At Tuesday night’s Physical Services Committee, nearly a dozen people spoke out against a local businessman’s request for a variance or permit to operate outside of the decibel limits set forth in the Noise Ordinance, in order to have live music at his open air establishment Thursday through Saturday from May – September.
Elizabeth and Robert McGrath, owners of Spencer’s Ali Tavern, 124 W. Second St., approached the committee with basically the same request they have had the past several years.
However, this year, the request was met with an orchestrated opposition as speaker after speaker came to the microphone urging the councilors to deny the request.
Some said the council shouldn’t allow commercial establishments to make more noise than is allowed under the city’s noise ordinance.
Some said the sound of the music could be heard blocks away and rattled their windows and sounded like a freight train. One called it an assault on the quality of life.
The music is great in the early evening; it is not great at one in the morning, one woman said. “It’s too late and too loud,” she added.
It’s warm in the summer and you want the windows open, another woman pointed out. “But if you have LOUD NOISE ALL THE TIME! what’s the point?” she screamed. “Are we as human beings not allowed to sleep?”
In his request, Robert McGrath said, “The variance being requested is not to exceed 86db.”
After about an hour of debate, the committee decided not to take any action on the request.
Unless the council takes action on the resolution at a later date, the McGraths will have to operate under the guidelines set forth in the ordinance.
According to committee chair Fran Enwright, the decibel level for the downtown commercial area is 65 decibels; for residential it falls to 50 after 9 O’clock but for commercial it stays the same.
If a variance is granted, the resolution states: “…if complaints are received as a result of excessive noise at the above establishment, the Oswego City Police Department, upon investigation of the complaint, shall at their discretion, be allowed to order the owner(s) or person in charge to lower the volume level or stop the live music …”