By Elizabeth F. McNamara
The specialist hired to study the issue of noise from live music at waterfront restaurants will attend the Town Council meeting Monday night to review his findings. This will also be the first meeting for new Town Manager Andrew Nota, whose first day in the office was Tuesday.
In his report (Waterfront Noise Report), acoustics specialist James Miller recommended the town lower decibel levels from 75 to 65 and eliminate the 5 decibel “safety zone.”
There are three restaurants on Water Street – Blu on the Water, Nautika and Finn’s Harborside – that offer live music several nights a week from Memorial Day weekend into September. Wednesday through Saturday, they are allowed to play live music until 12:30 a.m.
Miller spent two evenings (July 5 and July 12) at the waterfront taking sound readings at a variety of spots as well as noting different activities going on simultaneously (i.e. a very loud truck engine, people yelling). Miller also installed two longer-term measuring systems which were places at 88 King Street and 80 Queen Street (the Fireman’s Club).
“Electronically-amplified music from bars on … the waterfront significantly impact local residents,” Miller said in his report, nothing the real problem for residents seemed to be when music exceeded 65 dBC and 60 dBA when measured at a bar’s property line. He added motorcycles late at night were another particular irritant to residents.
Owners of Blu and Finn’s met with Miller in June. Miller recommended speakers be places as low to the ground as possible and oriented away from the neighborhood and toward the water. Miller also talked to the restaurant owners about placing hay bales, water-filled barrels and the like to absorb the bass frequencies that are causing the biggest disturbance. In addition, they were put in touch with a New England Soundproofing of Easton, Mass.
Also on the agenda, the council will hear a presentation on affordable housing from Brenda Clement, director of Housing Works RI, and John Marcantonio of the RI Builders Association.
The meeting takes place in Council Chambers at Town Hall starting at 7 p.m. You can find the full agenda here.
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The noise isn’t limited to Water Street. Main Street has many of the same issues with the addition of bottles being dumped in dumpsters in front of the town hall every hour on the hour. They should go to kegs.