Durham County

Noisy neighbors? Official weighs in on city ordinance revision talk

Popular activities at Durham Central Park may bring the city to review its noise ordinance.
Popular activities at Durham Central Park may bring the city to review its noise ordinance. ctoth@heraldsun.com

Durham Central Park gets a lot of use but its noise level may soon be reviewed.

On Wednesday, Durham City Councilman Charlie Reece said on Twitter that the Durham noise ordinance may be re-examined. He was responding to a discussion about noise in Durham Central Park following an article in Indy Week.

“These challenges are nothing new, but we need to open new approaches in how we live, work and play together in this city,” Reece said.

“We should reexamine the current ordinance with an eye to allowing all of Durham’s distinctiveness to flourish and thrive.”

A resident in the Liberty Warehouse Apartments had complained about the percussionist organization Batalá Durham’s Monday evening practice sessions in Durham Central Park. The group is an international samba reggae music project based in Salvador de Bahia in northeastern Brazil. Durham’s noise ordinance allows for noise up to 60 decibels until 11 p.m. Batalá Durham practices there from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The park organization responded by saying it supported efforts to make it accessible to everyone and that it realized there could be friction between new residents and long-established activities.

“As the neighborhood around us changes and new residents move in, we hope that they have chosen to be our neighbors because they value the activity and culture of the park that has been cultivated by the wide diversity of park users,” the statement said. “However, we realize that there may be some friction with new residents and long established activities. We are dedicated to working with all parties when there is an issue and want to find win-win solutions.”

How loud is 60 decibels?

The website industrialnoisecontrol.com equates the volume of 60 decibels to the level of a conversation in a restaurant, background music or an air conditioning unit at 100 feet.