Friday, December 9, 2011

City is Hip to Westside Noise Complaints

Neighbors take issue with noisy venues.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge 10barrel.jpg

“Shhhh…the neighbors are sleeping.”

Such was the post on 10 Barrel Brewing Company’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon, a response to noise complaints voiced by neighbors at last night’s City Council meeting.

The post is a humorous take on a serious situation that pits concerned citizens against the local brew pub and other venues located near residential zones, like the Century Center.

But make no mistake, 10 Barrel is not taking the complaints of excessive noise, littering and public drunkenness lightly.

“It’s definitely an issue. We’re not trying to ruffle any feathers, we pride ourselves on being a neighborhood place,” said Garrett Wales, a part-owner. The pub, which according to Wales hosts two big events a year—Pray for Snow (which occurred just last weekend) and Pray for Sun (a summer event)—has endeavored to mitigate potential problems by hosting meetings with concerned neighbors, alerting neighbors of upcoming events and shutting down parties early. Pray for Snow concluded at 9:15pm, 45 minutes before the permit requires, Wales said.

Such cooperation is appreciated by the Bend Police Department, said community liaison Steve Esselstyn.

“We certainly don’t want to squash their business, at the same time you want to minimize the impact on the neighbors,” Esselstyn said, noting that the Police Department has recently met with Parrilla Grill, The Horned Hand and 10 Barrel—all of which were cooperative and willing to take reasonable steps to stay in the good graces of the community. Esselstyn did note a recent mixed martial arts event at the Century Center that lasted well past the 10pm as a "red flag." 

The noise issue captured the attention of City Councilors Wednesday night, who were weighing staff-proposed code revisions that would affect how special events are conducted. Street closures, noise complaints and public notification were among the “main complaints” highlighted by Esselstyn in his report to the councilors. Live music and parties hosted by pubs and other venues are not considered special events, said City Manager Eric King, and are therefore exempt from the special event permitting process.

Madeleine Simmons, a nearby neighbor, used the special events noise complaints as a platform for her issues with 10 Barrel, a venue which she said had booming bass that rattled her windows during the Pray for Snow party.

Councilor Jodie Barram said while she was sympathetic, she’d hate to see excess regulations levied on local businesses.

“I want to stay a business friendly city,” noted Barram, who added that she would like to continue the conversation.

Esselstyn agreed.

“Its going to be a long, ongoing process. If one thing doesn’t work, you try something else,” Esselstyn said.

“We’re trying to be the mediators.”

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