Now here’s what an open-minded, agreeable city council can do. In this case, that would be the Raleigh City Council, which faced what could have become a long-lasting, contentious issue over noise and neighbors in the Glenwood South district.
That area has become a “hot” entertainment and restaurant venue in recent years, and there seems to be no end in sight for the growth in its popularity. Apartments and condos already are full and more are coming, and the area is home to some music venues.
Result: a surge of development in an area where few would have believed such a transformation possible prior to the 2000s. But with the boom came...well, a literal boom of sorts. Noise has become a conflict. It happens when entertainment venues get going and fill with people, but it bothers residents who moved to Glenwood South for the urban experience.
Some council members reasonably pointed out, when the noise conflicts first surfaced, that those who live in such an area should expect a greater-than-normal level of noise. In a way, it’s part of the experience. (Ask anyone who lives in a major city with an active core.)
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That said, council members rightly recognized that there needs to be a balance of some kind, or at least a way for residents and business owners to share a space without going at each other.
So now, in a pilot program, the city of Raleigh is actually going to make it easier for business owners to get permits for outdoor music or to leave doors and window open, with the understanding that there will be measurable noise limits. However, those businesses that produce the noise will have to have a contact person around during hours of operation and the city will have a system for tracking complaints.
This is a wise decision from a city council that actually listened to all sides.