Street preachers using personal amplification are a regular sight at Bele Chere, but an Occupy Asheville protester was told by an Asheville Police Department officer that city ordinance requires them to put away their megaphone. However, according to City Attorney Bob Oast, the city generally allows the use of personal amplification in public space.
The noise ordinance states that “no person shall engage in an activity produces or constitutes a noise disturbance in an occupied premise or neighboring area,’” Oast tells Xpress. “Amplification’s always been an issue. I don’t know the circumstances were regarding this particular incident, but I know in the past we’ve permitted amplification if it’s at a low level, such as the use of a personal megaphone.”
Amplification has remained an issue, as has the subjectivity of the city’s noise ordinance guidelines. City staff are currently reviewing the ordinance, and looking into regulating street preachers as well.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter