Noise Ordinance City Council Vote July 27

The City Council Meeting on June 22, 2021 agreed to give staff one month to resolve areas with lack of consensus in the new noise ordinance:  


1. CBD daytime/nighttime decibel level
2. Commercial daytime/nighttime decibel level
3. Possible commercial-to-residential “buffer area” decibel level
4. Day/Night definition
5. Sound Exceedance permitting
  ○ Event frequency
  ○ Decibel cap
  ○ Sound exceedance curfew (not event curfew)

CAN will continute to push for lower decibels and earlier curfews.  We will need your help! Follow updates to this website for CAN's efforts to represent your needs and protect your health. Speak with Ben Woody at the CAN General Membership Meeting: June 24, 6:00 PM.  Details at:  https://www.asheville-can.org/meetings.php

__________________________________

GO PUBLIC before the City Council Meeting June 22, 5:00 PM

The Public Safety Committee Meeting on June 1, 2021 voted to forward the noise ordinance to city council! In addition, they voted to increase maximum sound level limits to match those of Wilmington against the advice of residents and the staff report. Actions we ask you to take:

  1. Take the CAN opinion piece, make it your own, send to local media.  Here is the CAN Opinion Piece. Here are Local Media Contacts
  2. Write your own letters to City council members NOW.  Here are points of information you can use to make it personal: Key talking points
  3. Plan to attend the June 22, 2021 City council meeting, speak up for the rights of all residents

UPDATE: Meeting of CAN and Asheville Music Professionals (AMP) failed to return decibel limits to those recommened by city staff.  AMP stated that they could not speak on behalf of businesses in commercial or industrial districts and therefore would not agree to the levels CAN and city staff had agreed to in February 2021.

Stay up to date as CAN continues to educate city staff and council members that reasonable residential sound limits and vibrant music can coexist.  That is why CAN and AMP the  worked so hard together to make a joint recommendation that was included in the material provided to the Public Safety Committee.

Following is the letter that CAN has sent to Mayor Manheimer:

Mayor Manheimer,

In the Asheville Public Safety Committee meeting of June 1, Councilwomen Sheneika Smith, Kim Roney, and Sandra Kilgore unanimously passed a motion to send the city’s proposed noise ordinance with a change to recommended decibel limits to the full City Council for consideration at its June 22 meeting.  The Councilwomen arbitrarily chose Wilmington’s model for decibel limits in the CBD based on a short-sighted and misguided notion of how to stimulate economic recovery for the music and performance industries.  That model allows for noise as loud as 70 to 75 decibels in the CBD as measured at the site of complaint, i.e. residences.  Imagine if you had to tolerate continuous noise surrounding your residence at the level of an operating vacuum cleaner; that's the equivalent of 75 decibels, according to noise experts.  
 
The councilwomen did not substantiate their rationale for this model with any facts, and they did not even recognize, much less discuss, the very real threat their motion poses to residents' lives.  The motion directly undermines the City’s top two guiding principles for a new noise ordinance: (1) “excessive noise is a public health, welfare and safety hazard” and (2) “the community has a right to an environment free from excessive noise that may degrade their quality of life or diminish property values”.   
 
The Councilwomen’s swift decision made without consideration for the impact on all stakeholders dismissed CAN’s years of hard work and collaboration with the City to draft a new noise ordinance that would make Asheville more sustainable, more equitable, and much more livable for its residents. The effort has required a great deal of in-depth analysis and thorough understanding of this complex issue, necessary steps to make well-reasoned, appropriate recommendations.  CAN is dismayed that our collaborative effort with city staff that produced consolidated public input has largely been ignored, eroding our trust and confidence in the process.  
 
We urge you to understand that the Public Safety Committee’s motion of June 1, 2021 failed to meet the test of a properly informed decision.   The Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) is strongly opposed to the motion that threatens the safety, health, and quality of life for Asheville residents.  
 
Excessive noise is complex. Rather than extend the length of this letter, I propose a discussion with you to explain CAN's serious concerns and to answer your questions.  Please suggest a date and time convenient to you, and CAN members will be available to address your questions and concerns.

 

As of Jun 11, 11:00 AM we have no response from Mayor Manheimer.  Vice Mayor Smith has replied and we are in virtual conversation with her.  

Updates are likely between now and the June 22 city council meeting.  WE NEED YOUR HELP!

__________________________________

Public Safety Committee meeting postponed

The meeting was postponed becasue of technical issues that prevented public input.  Documents have sill not been posted! Good thing we have them.

Letters to the Public Safety Committee can be read here: Letters to Public Safety

Due to this delay you still can prepare for the rescheduled date.  Start with this document: Noise Staff Report. It has links to many other documents on the city's Google Drive (if they are still there).  We are providing PDF versions of the two most relavent documents.  This is the presentation: Noise Presentation. This is the recommended changes to the draft noise ordinance released in November: Proposed Ordinance Changes

Updated call to action:

The Asheville Public Safety Committee will decide whether to allow the noise ordinance to move toward city council approval. Email comments must be sent to AVLPublicSafety@PublicInput.com by 5:00 PM Monday, May 31. Additional participation information can be found here: Public Input. Need some email or talking points? Take these:  Excessive Noise Talking Points.

While CAN and its collaborating neighborhoods have negotiated some improvements, your health and well being remains seriously at risk for these reasons:

  1. There are no required maximum sound level limits for residential areas
  2. The current city proposal is to protect residents by enforcing limits in commercial and industrial districts. The suggested maximum sound level limits for these districts are too high to protect nearby residents (ex. Mission Hospital facilities continuously emit extremely high and unhealthy levels of noise pollution into Kenilworth)
  3. There are no constraints that prevent the creation of additional outdoor performance venues from being established adjacent to residential areas

The ordinance must not advance without addressing these serious concerns. The ordinance changes being proposed do not abide by the city’s own documented first two imperatives (as stated in the city’s presentation):

  1. Excessive noise is a public health, welfare and safety hazard.
  2. The community has a right to an environment free from excessive noise that may degrade their quality of life or diminish property values.

The Asheville Public Safety Committee must perform its duty to require improvements that protect your safety. Please make your voices heard, you can be certain that commercial interests are actively influencing.

When the city solicited public input in late 2020, comments that favored no limits, complained about the impact on business seriously outnumbered feedback from those who have to live with excessive noise.  Please change the numbers today.  You have just more than 24 hours to share your thoughts.

__________________________________

Previous Noise Ordinace Information

From concerned Kenilworth residents:

Did you know noise pollution in Asheville is not only a growing irritant, but also an invisible threat to your and your family's health and wellbeing? To understand why and how you can advocate for a quieter, healthier, and more sustainable Asheville, please see: Noise Pollution in Asheville: The Invisible Threat.

NEW: Do you want to see noise input the city has received so far? Look here:  Public input report.

Here is our recent guide to understanding and providing input to the city's ordinance: CAN guide to city input

The Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) has been advocating for changes in the City of Asheville’s Noise Ordinance for almost two years. We advocate on behalf of Asheville’s neighborhoods on issues that affect neighborhoods, and noise is and has been of great importance in recent years. We submitted a draft noise ordinance to the City on August 5, 2019 and were met with broad support from the community and entered into constructive dialogue with the City. While there have been a few positive changes to the City’s ordinance based on CAN’s feedback to the City, unfortunately, upon reviewing the City’s draft noise ordinance released on November 18, 2020, we are disappointed that much of the feedback we relayed on behalf of our neighbors has been watered down, ignored, and omitted.  

Specifically and most importantly, the City’s November 18, 2020 draft noise ordinance has left out these points upon which we thought we had agreement with the City:

  1. Residential district daytime and nighttime maximum sound limits to protect citizens’ quality of life and wellbeing
  2. Statement on equity
  3. Sound measured at point of receiver, not origin 
  4. Any public/citizen oversight over the administration and ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the Noise Ordinance through a Noise Control Commission
  5. Beginning and ending time definitions for night time

CAN will be working to contest and advocate for these important pieces of CAN’s draft ordinance to be added back into the City’s ordinance to ensure protection of the health, wellbeing, and rights of Ashevillians and hope to reach consensus with the City on future versions of the noise ordinance.

CAN asks that you respond to the City’s draft ordinance. Click here: https://publicinput.com/noise, then scroll down unitl you see the button named "Feedback Form" , click on it to provide your response using the points above to craft your comments. This feedback is open for public comment until December 11, 2020.

CAN has updated a document started a year ago with detail on where today's city ordinance differs from CAN's ordinance. Read here...

The original CAN's ordinance from August 5, 2019. Read here...

 A copy of the City of Asheville's proposed noise ordinance. Read here...

__________________________________

Speak your mind at homestay public hearing

CAN members have sent these letters:
Homestay Letters sent to city council

Delayed to September 2021, the Asheville City Council will hear public input on revised homestay rules.  This is an ongoing debate between short term rental advocates and neighbors that worry that investors will purchase residential properties, install managers as long term rental tenants who then manage short term rentals in the accessory dwelling or rooms/apartments in the residence.  Many people in neighborhoods feel this would ruin the neighborhood’s sense of community.


Councilwoman Turner alerted us, noticing the reports coming to Council did not include input from the Affordable Housing Committee or any neighborhood committees or collectives. On behalf of CAN, we urge all neighborhood residents to make their voices known. Signup TODAY before the Tuesday, May 11, morning 9:00 AM deadline to comment on these points:

  1. Should accessory dwellings be allowed to have a homestay?
  2. Should full kitchens in the homestay be allowed?
  3. Should the property owner be required to apply for the homestay permit?
  4. Should an owner be allowed only one homestay permit?

To help you access the rules for public input to city council meetings here is the link:
https://publicinput.com/J7530

The entire May 11, city council agenda can be found here including the documents to be discussed regarding homestay changes:
https://www.ashevillenc.gov/government/city-council-agenda/

As CAN receives further input and perspective, we will share information and letters that residents are sending to city council members. Please speak up no matter what “side” of the debate you are on!

 __________________________________

 

CAN Update on live public input at boards and commissions

Good news to share today, August 26, 2020.  Thanks to continued CAN communication and collaboration with members of city staff, the Monday August 24th Board of Adjustment meeting adopted the new methods for public input and testimony.  While CAN leadership will remain diligent until we see these new methods applied to all board and commission meetings, we are encouraged.  You can read the detailed update from Patrick Gilbert here...

CAN appeals to the City for equitable firefighter pay

As the Asheville City Council considers the FY 2021 budget the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods (CAN) and its Board of Directors, who represent neighborhood associations through Asheville, urges Council members to consider the sacrifices and commitment of the City's first responder in determining fair and equitable wages, especially as that applies to the City's 280 sworn fire department personnel.  Read more...

CAN and City Teams Collaborate on Virtual Public Input

CAN have engaged with the City of Asheville to advance technology, allowing live interaction during City Council meetings. As a result of these efforts, this week, CAN was asked by the City to participate in testing new technology that better facilitates public comment in real time during public hearings, and provide feedback.  Read more...

CAN's Original Discussion to Defer Public Hearings

The Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods asked the City Council and the City Manager to delay public hearings unless there was a guarantee that all public comments related to an issue that was a subject of a public hearing would be read into the record, before the Council took action.  

CAN took this step to preserve every citizen's right to have his/her voice heard on issues important to communities. Only Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler, who will be presiding over Council meetings in the near future, responded. Read more...

 
Asheville Noise Ordinance NEEDS your feedback!