Although local residents recently told Gahanna City Council they're tired of loud noises keeping them awake at night from local bars, police statistics show more documented complaints against other residents.

Although local residents recently told Gahanna City Council they're tired of loud noises keeping them awake at night from local bars, police statistics show more documented complaints against other residents.

According to police records, 64 complaints have been filed about loud noise from Jan. 1 to July 16. Of those, 41 have been about other residents; four were about Gatsby's; three were from Coaches; and three were regarding noises from vehicles. One or two complaints were received about FM, Lounge 62, Creekside Plaza, Lincoln High School and Traditions, among others.

Gahanna Police Lt. Dan Williams has been working with city attorney Shane Ewald and the administration to amend the noise code to make it enforceable.

"With the old ordinance, if someone complained about a bar or construction noise, it had to come from the source of the complaint," Williams said. "If the complaint was anonymous, we couldn't take proper enforcement action."

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.

With the other change, the reading time to obtain the average decibel level has been reduced from three to two minutes.

Williams said most noise complaints are from residents complaining about their neighbors' loud stereos, televisions or parties in backyards.

"I've been dealing with noise complaints for years," he said. "It was originally completely unenforceable, taking a 30-minute average."

He said the police department has been receiving unfair accusations about officers getting free meals from local business establishments in violation of the noise code.

"It's completely unfounded," he said.

With the new code, Williams said, an officer will take a reading from the appropriate location. If a violation is recorded, a citation will be issued.

The first offense of the amended noise-control code will be a minor misdemeanor with a $150 fine. Second and subsequent violations will be misdemeanors of the fourth degree, with fines of $250.

Williams said the Gahanna Police Department utilizes a Radio Shack 33-2055 digital sound-level meter.

"All businesses are encouraged to self-regulate as officers will no longer issue warnings for violations or request the noise source be reduced in order to achieve compliance," he said.

Police have sent notices to local businesses with instructions on utilizing meters so they can measure sound levels to mimic the exact way police will take readings.

Rick Stover, owner/general manager of Rick's Coaches on Granville Street, said he addresses noise issues several times each year. He said the previous code was very vague.

"Typically, the police would just show up and tell us to turn it down or off," he said. "We typically do as they ask even though that is not how it is supposed to work."

Stover said he's looking forward to the amended code that will result in police coming to his business to take a decibel reading.

"I will be able to see the reading for myself," Stover said. "We will have our own decibel reader on hand at all times. ...

"We don't want to irritate our neighbors, but we do want to receive fair treatment as a business. Our customers and thousands of others enjoy good music and entertainment, like the jazz and rib fest. Music is a large factor for businesses with an outdoor patio."