Editorial: Music to our ears | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: Music to our ears

The Aspen City Council’s tentative agreement to raise the decibel limit during the so-called nighttime noise hours not only hits all of the right notes, but hopefully it sends a message that Aspen’s nightlife still has a pulse.

The downtown noise issue has festered over the years, putting owners of townhomes and penthouses at odds with their livelier neighbors — the bars and restaurants.

And therein lies the rub: Can the owners of downtown residences coexist in harmony with the pubs and nightclubs? And how can Aspen, which is heralded by the national media for its nightlife, live up to its image and attract visitors when neighbors want to turn down the volume?

The council can’t please everybody on this one, but the agreement it hatched at Tuesday’s work session certainly bodes well for the what’s been a seemingly dim future for “messy vitality.” That’s all provided, however, that the proposal becomes a reality and results in a change to the noise ordinance.

If passed, the noise ordinance change would include extending downtown’s “nighttime noise” hours, when the decibel limit is 65, until 11 p.m.

As it stands, the decibel limit is lowered to 60 starting at 9 p.m.

It’s also reasonable to expect buyers of downtown property to understand that downtown can be loud at times. And we consider loudness to be a good thing, at least when it’s coming from bars and restaurants in the form of live music, laughter and playful banter.

The council will hold a public meeting on the matter in June. Here’s hoping that the council holds its ground on this one — there’s no reason visitors, locals and patrons of Aspen’s bars and restaurants should kowtow to the monied gentry who would prefer their downtown to be lifeless and vanilla.