News

Noise a challenge for council

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The Bonney Lake City Council has found crafting a noise ordinance more challenging than it first appeared.

During an April 1 City Council workshop, council members considered an update of the current public disturbance ordinance, but decided to send the issue to Public Safety Committee for more analysis.

Prompting the issue were complaints about excessive noise coming from the Diamond Lounge at 18701 Sumner-Buckley Highway.

The lounge abuts a residential area, which has caused problems between neighbors and the owner of the bar, Steve Crossley.

Neighbors have repeatedly called police with complaints of music rattling their windows and noise so loud they could not sleep.

During September and October of 2007, the police department received about 25 noise complaints from neighbors living near the lounge.

The city purchased a decibel meter and police officers took readings at four area bars - the Diamond Lounge, New Peking Chinese Restaurant at 21179 state Route 410 E., Babalouies, 20833 SR 410 E. and Bonney Lake Tavern, 18212 SR 410 E.

The average readings taken from March 17-21 and March 26-31 showed the lounge was the lowest of the four, although street noise had to be accounted for at Bonney Lake Tavern.

The main problem with the Diamond Lounge is it is the only one of the four located next to a residential area.

From March 17-21 the Diamond Lounge's average was 44.5 dBA (A-weighted decibels). New Peking's was 47.6, Babalouie's 47 and Bonney Lake Tavern 48.5. Readings were taken between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

According to a report from the police department, a noise complaint was received March 18 from a resident living near the Diamond Lounge. A reading was taken of 49.7 about 150 feet from the rear of the business. The report noted if the noise continued for 15 minutes it would constitute a violation of the state's noise code.

At the workshop, Councilman Mark Hamilton said a solution to the problem between the neighbors and the lounge needed to be found in “30 to 45 days. If this comes back to the council we may have to do it the hard way.”

Councilman Jim Rackley said, “If this was smoke - acrid, putrid smoke - we would fix this problem.”

Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said by phone after the meeting that an updated ordinance is “still a work in progress. As the city center develops in the downtown we want to craft it for the future.”

The ordinance is due to return to the council's agenda May 20.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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