No action was taken after a review of the city's noise ordinance Tuesday, but Rules & Ordinances Committee Chairman Rick Drummond said they'll have to study the issue further, specifically regarding the distance noise can travel.
"It doesn't take much to hear something 80 feet away," he said.
The noise ordinance restricts noise between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. and noise that can be heard more than 80 feet from a property, but refers to properties within a residential district.
The issue came up after Drummond said he was approached by a resident in the area of North Lundy Avenue and Third Street about the volume of noise coming from the restaurant BB Rooners on Tuesday nights.
Drummond said he talked to BB Rooners owner Dan Engle about the complaint and he was very accommodating and said if it's a volume issue, he would make sure the music was turned down. The restaurant hosts bike night on Tuesdays with a band outside.
According to Drummond, resident Tom Wilde said it was difficult to carry on normal family functions and he could even hear the music while inside his home with the air conditioning running. He had previously called the police, but did not come to the committee meeting.
Drummond said the ordinance doesn't apply in this situation because both the restaurant and the residence are in areas zoned commercial.
He noted that Engle said some nights the music sound may carry depending on which way the wind is blowing, but said he would turn the music down.
"He wanted to be a good corporate citizen here and didn't want to cause issues," Drummond said.
Committee member Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey said she's been to BB Rooners on Tuesday nights and can't ever remember being there when the music was extremely loud.
"I don't think he's in violation of the ordinance as it stands," she said, adding she didn't want to get to the point where people are yelling about every noise they hear. "People who live in commercial districts have to expect some other noises."
Drummond said there were nights when he heard the music where he lives on State Street north of Highland Avenue, but pointed out the restaurant has been having music outside for 14 years, using the same three or four bands. At 80 to 100 feet, he said people can barely play an iPod without making noise that can be heard at that distance.
In a noise ordinance for Coshocton, he said commercial establishments are allowed to play music no louder than for business patrons to enjoy. Engle pointed out to him that if the music was too loud, people would not enjoy their meals.
Drummond said he didn't want to do something that would make a business stop doing something that could put a damper on the business. Kelli Miller, a guest at the meeting who doesn't live in Salem, commented that most of the buildings in Sugartree Alley behind BB Rooners are brick and that will magnify the sound.
Dickey said a lot of establishments have bands and there are a lot of residences near them in the commercial districts. She said people have to keep that in mind when they live in a commercial district.
Rather than rewrite the ordinance, she said the complaints should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
In a feline matter, the committee concluded that no changes needed to be made to an ordinance dealing with animals at large after questions were raised about roaming cats and what they do while roaming.
"I'm not sure what, if anything, the city can do," Drummond said.
He said he placed the question on the agenda because Councilman Clyde Brown, who's also a member of the committee, but didn't attend the meeting, reported that during a recent meeting for the Second Ward, residents complained about cats. Drummond said he also received calls about cats.
According to city ordinance, he said animals are not allowed to run free and cats would fall under the definition of animals. He said owners need to keep in mind that if they're choosing to let their pets run outside, they need to be mindful that those pets can be doing things on other people's properties that they wouldn't want done on their own property.
He also said if another property owner chooses to put out a trap and catch a cat and take it to a shelter, that can happen, too. He said he didn't see how the city could enforce the ordinance regarding cats, commenting that Mayor John Berlin would probably like to have the kind of manpower that would permit someone to watch for cats, but city finances don't allow for that.
"We don't have the funds to have a cat catcher," Dickey said.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at email@example.com