The recent article about changes to the noise ordinance stands in stark contrast to several other articles in the Aug. 4 edition.
While Carmela Caruso’s posting about the high levels of contamination in the French Broad River liberally acknowledges scientifically confirmed standards and measurements established by the Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities [“Pollution Hunt: Enhanced French Broad Monitoring Highlights Water Safety Issues,” Aug. 4, Xpress], the Aug. 4 article by Brooke Randle fails to mention the considerable science behind excessive noise and its adverse effects on human health, well documented by the EPA, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [“Revised Noise Ordinance Clears Council in 5-2 Vote,” Xpress].
As with water and air pollution, noise pollution is a recognized public health issue that contributes to increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance, depression, stress and hearing loss.
Another sharp contrast was the posting about local businesses prioritizing community over tourists [“Locals First: Some Asheville Businesses Prioritize Community Over Tourists,” Aug. 4, Xpress]. The new noise ordinance is literally tone-deaf to Asheville residents, taking an unsubstantiated position that local musicians will not recover from the difficulties of the past year without louder, later venues. Because the music scene thrived pre-COVID with relatively few noise complaints, it is a difficult leap to understand how making downtown and other commercial areas louder will improve business.
Moreover, the ordinance totally ignores residents who must deal with nonmusic-generated noise from industrial, commercial and other sources. Noise pollution is content neutral and harmful to public health, no matter what the source.
Brushed aside by the City Council, the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods’ recommendations are based on facts and science. We hoped you would apply the same standards of proof to opposing views in your reporting.
— Rick Freeman
Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods
Editor’s response: Our Aug. 4 coverage primarily was to explain the outcome of the vote rather than the various arguments made by contending interests. Our earlier coverage in the June 23 issue of Xpress did explore the arguments in detail, including those of the letter writer, in the story, “Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Proposed Noise Ordinance Could Reshape Downtown’s Future.”