Public hearing set on downtown Aspen noise
Ryan Summerlin June 10, 2014
Aspen City Council expected to take a final vote Monday during a public hearing on proposed changes to the town’s noise ordinance.
As proposed, daytime noise allowance in the downtown core, which is 65 decibels, would extend from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. After that, it would drop to 60 decibels until 7 a.m. Additionally, noise readings during complaints would be taken at the affected party’s property, instead of at the source’s property line.
These changes are a scaled-back version of the council’s initial proposal, which would have resulted in an around-the-clock noise limit of 65 decibels. On May 27, during first reading, the council unanimously agreed that their initial offering in April was overenthusiastic.
“Yeah, there was a bit of fervor that night,” Council Dwayne Romero said at the May 27 meeting. “I think we were screaming, too, while we were at it, like ‘whoo-whoo!’ — way too high with the microphones up.”
Environmental Health Director C.J. Oliver formulated the scaled-back version, with concerns that public health in areas surrounding the core were not considered initially. He has recommended approval of the revised ordinance.
The changes would mirror what Steamboat Springs allows: 65 decibels until 11 p.m., when it drops to 60 decibels. In comparison, Park City, Utah, allows for 65 decibels around the clock, and Crested Butte, allows for 70 decibels until 10 p.m., when it drops to 60 decibels.
Decibel units are recorded on a logarithmic scale, and a 5-decibel increase equates to a 41 percent increase in perceived loudness. A 10-decibel increase equates to double the loudness, according to the Environmental Health Department.
The proposed changes stem, in part, from a dispute that played out in Aspen Municipal Court in January between the Aspen Brewing Co. and downtown penthouse owners Michael Sedoy and Natalia Shvachko. According to court proceedings, the couple phoned police 23 times between late December 2012 and early September to complain about sounds coming from the East Hopkins Avenue bar. Though the brewer received three separate citations from the city, a six-person jury absolved it of any wrongdoing.
Also on the agenda
The council continues discussion on a policy resolution — which allows for public input — concerning the city’s lodge-incentive program Monday.
Prior discussion has focused on three primary policy areas: four-story structures in limited circumstances; flexibility for free-market-residential components; and reductions in affordable-housing mitigation.