A Discussion: Sound level regulations at special events.         
  Recreation Supervisor Claire Harper provided a PowerPoint presentation that covered the following:
The following individuals addressed Council concerning sound levels at special events:
  • Debra A. Taylor
  • Joan Martini
  • Rick Moore
  • Russell R. Mann
  • Gina Marie Byers
  • Ryan Martin
  • Charlie Silver
  • Andy Fernandez
The following comments were received:
  • If the ordinance is passed, it will affect all community events. Some events may have to leave town.
  • Reducing sound levels will have an impact on festivals and the vendors who participate in them.
  • Those events who are at 100 feet or more from a residential domain should remain at 90 decibels.
  • Supportive of the decibel limit being reduced to 85 decibels at 50 feet.
  • C Level sound regulations should also be added.
  • There should be no amplified music downtown.
  • Suggest that zones be created to classify each park and assign different sound level regulations to each.
  • Wheeler Park is not suitable for festivals.
  • 90 decibels is very difficult to hear at a larger park such as Thorpe.
  • There is no data about the number of complaints received, if there are only four or five complaints compared to the 4,000 attendees it is an unfair comparison.
  • We need to evaluate the value festivals bring to the City in order to make a fair assessment of the adjustments and what that means for those festivals.
  • There are so many variables to consider with sound such as wind, hearing capability, and distance so each event can sound differently when using the same decibel levels.
The following individuals submitted written comment cards regarding sound levels:
  • Roabie Johnson
  • Joe Galli
  • Jen Blue
Councilmember McCarthy stated that he is not suggesting shutting down events in Flagstaff; he wants to try and balance the needs of the neighborhood against the needs of people having fun. A compromise is on the table for 85 decibels at 50 feet and based on the data it should still allow a successful event.
Mayor Evans stated that the compromise is based on one event at Wheeler Park and while it might work there it may not work for other events at other locations. There needs to be a more comprehensive solution. There should be a way to design a system with a configuration to keep the music contained. A one size fits all may not be appropriate.
Councilmember McCarthy stated that he does not think the City should be involved in the setup of equipment, the issue is the sound emanating from the event. He offered that the compromise be adopted for Wheeler Park with a commitment to adjust other parks later.
Councilmember Barotz added that she would support the idea of the compromise applying to Wheeler Park. She does not believe it will diminish the quality of the events there. It would be a step in the right direction to address the concerns in that park and it would be unfortunate if nothing was done at all.
Vice Mayor Whelan stated that there needs to be a demonstration that allows Council and the neighboring residents to observe. She does not believe that this is ready to move forward yet, more analysis is needed. Councilmember Odegaard agreed with Vice Mayor Whelan stating that it should wait.
Councilmember Overton stated that he is in favor of leaving the policy as it is with no change in the sound levels.
Mayor Evans stated that ultimately something needs to be done. The event season is over until May so there is time to continue discussions and formulate recommendations.
A majority of Council agreed to leave the current policy in place and asked staff to do further research and bring another discussion to Council before the season begins next year.
  A break was held from 10:10 p.m. through 10:15 p.m.
  Moved by Councilmember Charlie Odegaard, seconded by Councilmember Jim McCarthy to continue the meeting in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously