Durham city officials consider revamping noise ordinance

(CBS North Carolina)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham’s city council wants to send a message, and it’s one that could be loud and clear for people living in one area.

The city is considering amending a noise ordinance for Durham Central Park.

Batalá drum group rehearses in Durham Central Park, right next to luxury apartments downtown.

“Someone had complained about the noise and he asked us to stop,” said Mavis Gragg.

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Gragg is a member of the group. She says officials need to make sure Durham accommodates everyone.

“As Downtown continues to grow, as the activity continues to evolve, including people moving into downtown Durham, the noise issue is something that is going to need to be addressed,” she said.

The proposed amendment to the noise ordinance gives groups like Batalá an exception. It allows sounds from musical performances held at Durham Central Park between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Patrick Baker, the city’s attorney, says new rules have to be put in place because Durham is not what it was 10 years ago.

“We’re trying to strike that balance between allowing Central Park to continue the way it was always envisioned as a community gathering space, but also recognizing that there are people that are living right next to Central Park as well,” he said.

As more downtown areas across the state continue to grow, such as Raleigh and Fayetteville, Baker says other city officials should also consider that balance.

“It’s easy to think let’s get more residents into our Downtown, that’s a good thing for Downtown, but there are also some side issues that you have to be mindful of as well,” said Baker.

While Gragg is happy with the change, she says the amendment does not address the entire downtown area.

“The city, they have a difficult job reconciling that private investment and the greater Durham and what that looks like in the future and the present,” said Gragg.

Baker says he thinks this will kick off a larger discussion about the noise ordinance for all of downtown. The city will continue the discussion at the next city council meeting.

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