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Kilgore Council mum on noise ordinance

By Glenn Evans
July 9, 2013 at 11 p.m.

KILGORE - A couple's proclamation that music from a downtown venue has been quieter for two weeks prompted the Kilgore City Council to silence Tuesday.

"If that's the level they'd been at all this time, I would have never bothered to talk to the council in the first place," East South Street resident Charles Woods told council members.

Woods and his wife, Carolyn, prompted the council to reconsider its noise ordinance with a series of appearances at council meetings in recent months.

The couple live 175 feet from the outdoor stage at The Back Porch, a Kilgore College area restaurant that began staging bands on Wednesdays and weekends a couple of years ago on a converted outdoor volleyball court.

The husband said the bass, in particular, breaks the 85 decibel maximum in Kilgore's ordinance, reverberating in his bedroom when he tries to sleep Friday and Saturday nights. (Wednesday night shows are acoustic sets).

About a month ago, restaurant owner Jackie Clayton built an acoustic crown under which bands now play, though Woods said that had little effect.

However, he and his wife said Tuesday that noise levels seemed lower the past two weeks.

When they repeated that news to the council Tuesday night, the members took no action.

"I don't know if they took some of the bass out of it," the wife said, adding that decibel levels they've recorded on their own device have been 77 instead of 85.

Councilman Bobby Hale and Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon, who separately made weekend night visits to the club, said the noise had not seemed excessive. Hale said he measured 77 decibels from the street outside the club's chain link fence.

"I walked around the block," Hale said. "I walked with my wife, carried on conversation at the normal level. We didn't have any problem."

There appear to be two reasons for that.

Tina Stanley, assistant manager at the restaurant, said the bass amplifier at the eatery had failed. Bands have been asked to bring their own amplifiers.

"They bring a bass, and I have a little box to control it," she said. "And I've also been cracking down on the bands. Jackie's given me authorization to say it's my way or the highway. And the bands are starting to catch on, especially when they have to sign a contract that says you're going to get a $500 fine (for excessive noise)."

Clayton said he has worked hard to respond to Woods' complaints.



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