Raleigh council carefully mutes Glenwood South

May 19, 2014 

Sometimes, noise is in the ear of the beholder. Or should that be behearer?

In Manhattan, apartment dwellers learn to cope with the sounds of the city that never sleeps. Some use double insulation or sound machines offering ocean waves to help them sleep at night.

And many others just get used to it, viewing the noise of the city outside as a sort of urban symphony.

Some people with those urban backgrounds probably live in Raleigh’s Glenwood South, in recent years a hot area for younger people who want the city living experience. Condos now rest atop restaurants and other businesses on busy downtown streets.

That said, some residents on Glenwood South have been troubled by the noise produced by bands and taverns and restaurants with music or those where patrons adjourn to an outdoor area to talk ... and talk ... and talk. At times, disputes have gotten heated.

The Raleigh City Council, which sometimes has trouble making up its mind in these cases, has made a constructive move. It has set up a process whereby residents who have a complaint first meet with business owners, who try to resolve the problem. If that fails, police are called in, and things can get tougher for the business owner.

There are examples where the process has worked, and certainly it’s better if neighbors can work out their problems amicably.

City council member Mary-Ann Baldwin also offered a realistic footnote: If people don’t want to deal with noise, they perhaps shouldn’t consider living downtown as an option.

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