West Asheville resident Pat Dockery criticizes Asheville City Council, claiming proposed noise rules don't go far enough. Photo by Max Cooper.
At a relatively short meeting tonight, Asheville City Council signed off on stricter noise rules and a one-time $650 bonus for city employees.
Council voted 6-0 (Council member Gordon Smith was absent on vacation) to approve changes to the noise ordinance that add yelling, shouting, parties, and whether a noise occurred at night to the criteria that police could use when determining if they needed to issue a citation.
But the changes weren't quite enough to satisfy some residents. Pat Dockery, a West Asheville housewife who's advocated vocally for most of a year for more stringent noise rules, told Council that decibel meters were necessary, and doubted staff's estimates of the cost and training time required to implement them. Larry Holt, a downtown resident, objected to the exemption of the city's core. Council member Cecil Bothwell, who used to live downtown and made the motion for the new rules, said that noise was an inevitable part of a commercial district, and that those moving there should understand that.
Council also passed the bonus for city employees after an audit gave the city a clean bill of financial health. The $650,000 for the bonus comes from a better-than-expected budget situation this past year. Mayor Terry Bellamy noted that city workers haven't had a pay raise in three years, while the cost of living has increased.