EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — Residents and business owners alike converged at East Greenwich Town Hall Thursday night as councilors discussed making changes to a controversial noise ordinance.
The ordinance was proposed after residents expressed concerns about “unbearable noise” and “rowdy crowds” coming from the town’s waterfront businesses. The drafted ordinance would limit the sound level to 60 decibels.
The East Greenwich Town Council is considering making changes to the proposed ordinance, discussing lowering the maximum decibel and changing the time live music along the waterfront must end each night.
The council ultimately decided after its first public hearing to hire an engineer to complete a sound study of the area.
That sound expert attended Thursday night’s meeting to report the results of the study.
The study showed there are a lot of sounds contributing to the noise along the waterfront, including cars, people and the train track that runs nearby.
East Greenwich Police Detective Lt. Jeremy Fague says officers usually take sound measurements during the summer months to ensure businesses with live entertainment are in compliance with the ordinance.
But Fague said taking measurements can prove challenging as the environment isn’t controlled.
“Dealing with traffic, dealing with wind noise, dealing with people noise from the bar itself,” Fague said, adding that even minor interruptions can have an impact. “You have to wait until the conditions are somewhat OK until you can get an accurate reading.”
Residents are arguing that while there are plenty of other noises occurring in the vicinity, it is most disruptive when music is played into the night.
“The music stops right now at 12:30, then it takes an hour for the hardcore partiers to leave, and they don’t leave quietly,” one resident said during public comment.
Businesses along the waterfront tell Eyewitness News they’ve been continuously making soundproofing improvements and want to work with residents on a solution.
The East Greenwich Town Council also reminded residents that while the focus of the proposed noise ordinance is on the waterfront, it will also impact the entire town.