Jan 3, 2024 - News

Raleigh's new noise ordinance aims to quiet its party district

Illustration of a hand motioning "stop" coming out of a megaphone.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Raleigh City Council updated its noise ordinance on Tuesday as part of an effort to tame Glenwood South, the downtown district known for its bars and late nights.

Why it matters: After increasing complaints from neighbors, Raleigh has made calming the district a priority.

State of play: The updated noise ordinance, which goes into effect Feb. 3, changes enforcement standards from measuring decibel levels to a "reasonable person standard," a term defined by the city as a level that would disturb a regular person.

  • The city has said its previous decibel level standard was hard to enforce because often even street-level noise would be in violation.

Details: Under the new standard, a business or person would be in violation of the ordinance if they make "unreasonable noise" audible more than 50 feet away between the hours of 11pm and 7am and more than 300 feet between 7am and 11pm.

  • The ordinance update passed the council 6-2, with members Christina Jones and Mary Black voting against it.
  • Black expressed concern that the ordinance could negatively affect people's ability to protest.
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