BEND, Ore. - The city of Bend soon may adopt new noise regulations, after a group of citizens and event promoters came together to hammer out new rules acceptable to them both.
"Ultimately, going back and forth a couple of times, we came up with a set of amendments," said Marnie Smith of the Les Schwab Amphitheater. "They appeared to get general support from the group, and we decided to move forward with it."
After several complaints across the city, a small committee was formed to look into the issue and where changes could be made. . "The ordinance that was in place before was fine," said Smith. "It was just relatively unenforceable. We weren't giving the city of Bend tools they could actually use."
One of the biggest changes proposed is a new permit process for concerts and similar events.
Any promoter wishing to hold an event would have to submit a permit application 45 days before the event.
Notices would need to be provided within five days of the application, and public comments would be due 15 days following the application's arrival at City Hall.
Amplified sound would be prohibited between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., only if sound (60 to 65 decibels) can be heard from a residential property.
A fine structure would also be put in place, and those who violate the proposed limits could could face a stiff $750 penalty for the first offense.
If a company or person is caught again violating the noise rules within a year of the first offense, it will cost them $1,500. The third runs a steep $5,000 and a fourth offense brings a whopping $10,000 fine.
The committee is proposing that businesses or people who break the code must be clear of any violations for a year, or the fines start to mount.
Both sides say they are happy with the process and feel a sense of accomplishment for what they've done.
"I'm happy with the whole process," said Alan Petrich, "It seems that the changes in the noise code are excellent."
"We went into it expecting it to be a little bit more difficult than it was," said Smith, "but in the end, we have the common ground of wanting to find something usable to both sides, and just having it clearly identified by both sides makes a big difference towards that end."
The city council is scheduled to hear the proposed rules at their meeting on May 16.
If there are no hiccups, a second reading could come in early June, and the new code could be in place as early as July 4th.