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Downtown residents worry over the possibility of more noise at night

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Downtown Tucson and Fourth Avenue can get pretty loud on Friday and Saturday nights. Some neighbors living by are wondering if it'll get even louder now that the downtown area is part of the city's official entertainment district. 

The city passed an ordinance that allows businesses in the entertainment district to apply for a liquor license even though it's close to a school or a church. City officials said this could bring in more businesses to the area.

That could mean more noise for residents. The current city noise ordinance allows no more than 62 decibels of sound to reach a residential property after 10 p.m. To put that into perspective, a normal conversation between two people is about 65 decibels.

The people living in the Iron Horse Neighborhood said that it does get noisy during the weekends.

"If it's windy, then I can hear it more. It's kind of like white noise," said Shannon Shula who lives in the neighborhood. She said she didn't mind the noise as much as the 2 a.m. drunk people walking through the neighborhood. 

"We want people to come down and enjoy themselves but at the same time we want people to understand it's an historic neighborhood," said Jennie Mullins who used to serve on the neighborhood homeowner's association.

Mullins said businesses need to be aware about the sound they amplify from their establishment.

That's why the Merchant Council Leadership Committe wants to work with bar and club owners, as well as neighbors, to found out what sound level is appropriate before more business moves in. The chairman, John Jacobs, said the current ordinance is not clear or enforceable and that it will lead to problems if it's not addressed.

"The levels or noise in the entertainment district right now is an excess of what's allowable under city laws. Every business that's down here right now is, as the law is written, in violation," John Jacobs said.

City council member Steve Kozachik who represents the downtown area said that a new ordinance should not be written, but that there has to be someway to make living in the downtown area tolerable for old and new residents.

The committee will have more public meetings where people can weigh in on the noise levels before they make a recommendation to the city.

 

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