Residents give council earful about noise
Gahanna residents made it loud and clear July 16 that they want peace and quiet in their homes, with or without a revised noise control code.
City council amended noise control legislation by emergency July 16 to allow police to measure the sound level from the source of the noise instead of the source of the complaint.
City attorney Shane Ewald said the other change would be to take a 2-minute average sound level instead of a 3-minute average. He worked with Gahanna police and a city prosecutor to try to strengthen the code so it could be enforceable.
Carpenter Road resident John Thomas said the noise problem is bigger than council realizes.
"People are tired of the noise from Gatsby's," he said. "People on Carpenter Road are fed up. With new changes, I hope it can be enforced."
Creekside Green resident Marsha Siaopao has lived in Gahanna since 2010 and said she has had problems with noise from a bar on Johnstown Road.
"I work at the post office and come home at 11 at night," she said. "My walls vibrate from the noise. I thought Gahanna would be a nice place to live. I'm disappointed in my decision to live here.
"I just want some peace and quiet," she said. "I hope the change will decrease the noise."
Dr. Larry Leguire, a 30-year Gahanna resident, told council members they should read their own mission statement "to ensure an exceptional quality of life." He said he can't leave his windows open because it's too noisy from the bars.
"Something has to be done after 10 p.m.," he said. "Bars need noise remediation programs. ... We need an ordinance to reduce levels so we can sleep at night."
Carpenter Road resident Jacki Mann said her 13-year-old son can't get to sleep at night because of noise coming from Coaches. She showed council the ear protection he has to wear at night just to sleep.
Mann said she's all for people having their "play" time, but it shouldn't supercede residents' peace and rest.
"I would appreciate your consideration of all citizens and children impacted by the noise in this community," she said.
Rugby Lane resident Thomas Lefchik said council has heard from him for the past four-and-a-half years concerning noise from The Pub on Johnstown Road.
"The mayor said no one should have to put up with what I've put up with," he said. "It has been four-and-a-half years and I'm still coming to you. I've lost trust in the police department and administration. I've had vibrating walls. I get woke up in the night from noise."
He said the code systematically hasn't been enforced.
"When you can't go to sleep, it's totally unreasonable," he told ThisWeek.
Resident Rob Todd cited a sense of intimidation, saying some residents are afraid to report noise violators. He said he has had issues with The Pub on Johnstown Road. Todd said the noise elevates his blood pressure.
"Shouldn't we be entitled to a decent night's sleep?" he asked. "I think I deserve more than that. Why don't you want to do something about it? Let's have peace and joy."
Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said she knows calling the police can be intimidating, but she said any kind of retaliation wouldn't be tolerated in her administration.
She said amending the noise ordinance would be a good first step and that the city would explore other avenues to rectify the problem.
Council member Stephen Renner said a lot of research has been done by council, the administration and Ewald concerning the issue.
If the amended code doesn't solve the problem, he said, residents should return to council.
"Shake us up; let us know," Renner said. "I believe everyone here and the administration wants a good ordinance and peace."
Council member Ryan Jolley said a balance between the rights of residents and businesses must be found.
"It's not a one-size-fits-all issue, and it's not a one-size-fits-all solution," he said.
He said the sound limits remain the same for residential and commercial areas, but the sound would be measured at the source to get an accurate reading.
"We are strengthening the ordinance," Jolley said. "This is just a first step. I think it will have a significant impact on citing."
Council member Karen Angelou asked the administration to examine building codes in relationship to sound regulations.
Council president Brian Larick said the problem is bigger than he initially had realized.
"The objective is to strengthen the code to make it enforceable and better for the community," he said. "I've long been an advocate of measuring (sound) at the location. I think it makes for a clear means of enforcement."