The owners of a Canal Winchester brewery that residents say is interrupting their evenings with loud music says he's tried to work with city officials and neighbors to find "common ground."
Nathan Doerfler, one of the owners of Loose Rail Brewing Co., 37 W. Waterloo St., said he believes residents are unfairly targeting his business.
"They want zero noise; that's what they want," Doerfler said. "The train comes through town twice a day. The bands at Canal Winchester High School football games -- you hear them constantly on Friday nights. I think I'm just a new noise, and they're not used to it yet."
Loose Rail, which opened May 5, grew out of a collaboration with nearby Harvest Moon Craft Kitchen, whose owners, Nathan and Kelley Doerfler, teamed up with Loose Rail's Jonathan Woodruff and Dennis Smalley.
The business is in an area zoned Old Town commercial, which Canal Winchester Development Director Lucas Haire said permits commercial or residential uses.
Residents who live near the business have complained about noise to the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office, which handles law-enforcement duties for the city.
Some have said it's so loud that the bass reverberates through the walls of their homes.
A group of eight Mound Street residents signed an Oct. 5 letter to Mayor Mike Ebert, asking the city to continue to move toward adopting a noise ordinance.
Doerfler said he and others have taken numerous decibel readings at or near Loose Rail's property line, with results that indicate the noise is no louder than a normal conversation.
He said the nearby Harvest Moon has held musical acts on its patio but has never received any complaints.
"We had a jazz band the other night, and they used brushes on the drums," he said. "It wasn't amplified. We got a call at 9:50 p.m., and a deputy came out and said the noise was fine. Part of the agreement with the city was to stop the music at 10 p.m."
Doerfler and others were expected to attend the Oct. 16 City Council meeting, after ThisWeek's press time, to "tell their side of the story," he said.
During City Council's Oct. 2 meeting, Law Director Gene Hollins said he was preparing to seek legal action through the disorderly conduct statute. He and Ebert later met with a Franklin County Environmental Court prosecutor to discuss residents' concerns.
Ebert since has said he wants to find a solution and avoid legal action.
A dozen Mound Street residents who signed an Oct. 13 letter to the mayor and City Council continued to push for a noise ordinance that uses a "plainly audible" standard and cautioned against relying on decibel readings "conducted by nonprofessionals."
"The fact that literally thousands of municipalities nationwide, including many in central Ohio, have noise ordinances indicates that they serve a useful function," the letter states. "Many municipalities exempt important community institutions and events, such as high school sporting events."
Doerfler said he wouldn't be opposed to a noise ordinance with decibel-level restrictions but doesn't know how it might affect the entire city.
Ebert, too, has raised concerns about the overall effect a noise ordinance would have on Canal Winchester.
"The only problem with that is it's a blanket thing," Doerfler said. "Is that going to affect the football games and band competitions? It's a tough yes-and-no question, but it would be easy for me to keep under a certain decibel level."