Committee seeks additional information to determine best action to curb noiseOnly time will tell how the Superior City Council addresses a noise issue that uniquely affects Barker’s Island Marina residents.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Only time will tell how the Superior City Council addresses a noise issue that uniquely affects Barker’s Island Marina residents.
Superior’s License and Fees Committee on Monday opted to table a review of the city’s music requirements until August, when committee members have more information about how an outdoor wedding venue at Barker’s Island Inn and Conference Center affects life in the marina.
The panel will take the time to learn more before determining if the outdoor venue should be managed with limitations on special use permits, or if the city should consider an ordinance, which could limit a variety of activities in the city, such as outdoor concert fundraisers, the fair and AMSOIL Speedway.
Enforcing an ordinance would be difficult, said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse. In general, he said, officers use the criteria of what is reasonable when determining whether to enforce noise disturbances.
Wisconsin law already has provisions for enforcing excessive noise.
For a brief period in 2001, the city also had an ordinance to govern noise; however, the council repealed that ordinance four months after it was adopted because enforcement proved difficult.
“I don’t think the ordinance, as written, was enforceable because you’re saying 95 decibels, but where and when,” LaGesse said. He said where the sound is measured — at the speakers or at the complaining party’s property line would make a difference.
There is a lot of precedence for the things the marina is asking for — specific hours and decibel levels, said Joe Radtke, marina manager.
Judith Olson, a marina resident since 1983, agreed. She said she’s researched a variety of sound ordinances from the United States and Canada, and believes it’s something the panel should consider.
However, committee members were unsure that creating a one-size-fits-all ordinance is a good solution considering other events in the community — those that never net complaints — or would impinge on activities at the fairgrounds would be a good solution when the council also has the option writing specific restrictions into special event permits on a case-by-case basis.
And with no data to work with — the first outdoor event planned for Barker’s Island won’t take place until the end of the first week of July. The committee, which routinely meets the second Monday of the month decided to table to issue until August, giving the committee ample time to gather additional information about how the events are affecting marina residents.
By time the committee meets again, all of the planned events will have taken place except the concert held the weekend of the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival.
While hotel and marina management were both hoping for resolution of the issue this week, Barker’s Island Inn Manager Charlie Johnson agreed to wait until more information is available.
Currently, the hotel is not booking outdoor weddings, waiting for resolution of the issue, Johnson said.
“You’re commercial zone and if we make a commercially zoned ordinance, it’s going to apply to everyone else,” said committee chairman Bob Finsland. “If we do something specific to the island, we’ll have a lawsuit.”
The panel meets again to discuss the issue Aug. 13.