The Palestine City Council on Monday amended a section of the city’s noise ordinance passed last month to allow for the playing of amplified music at festivals and other city-sanctioned events.
The city’s noise ordinance makes it illegal for any person within the city limits to operate any sound amplifier “in such a manner that when operated, it is audible at a distance of 30 feet or, when operated, causes a person to be aware of the vibration accompanying the sound at a distance of 30 feet from the source.”
During the council’s June 25 meeting, the council amended the ordinance to also extend the legal responsibility to any private property owner who knowingly allows the unlawful operation of a sound amplifier on his property.
During Monday’s meeting, Palestine Police Lt. Jeffery Powell addressed the council, asking for another amendment due to “the lack of provision for the festivals and the other activities deemed appropriate by the city.”
Palestine City Manager Mike Ohrt explained during Monday’s meeting that a brief application would be developed, indicating that private businesses, non-profit agencies, service organizations and the like would be the groups he envisioned filing for a permit seeking exemption from the ordinance. The city’s permit would stipulate that the outdoor music go no later than midnight, he added.
“We don’t feel like Uncle Bob’s 50th birthday would be a reason to issue a permit,” Ohrt added during Monday’s meeting.
The city manager admitted he was uncertain how many requests the city might receive for the permits, saying, “We just don’t know what the level of interest will be.”
On Tuesday, Ohrt said he hoped the city has “a simple form” available the end of this week.
The city manager reiterated the intent of the exemption is not to give private citizens the ability to ramp it up at the house.
“We wouldn’t open it up to private individuals,” Ohrt said, “wanting to have private parties in their back yard.”
A violation of the city’s noise ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org