Downtowners Angry about Concert Noise

A couple of dozen downtown residents showed up at last night’s City Council meeting to protest what they say is excessive noise coming from the new Charlottesville Pavilion. On concert nights their windows rattle and sleep isn’t possible — the shows go too late and are held too often. The amphitheater manager says they’re working on the problem, and city staff has taken to monitoring noise levels throughout the city at 10-minute intervals during concerts. John Yellig has the story in today’s Daily Progress.

We seem to be on a ~3-year cycle of interest in noise ordinances. In 1998, a restaurant named the Jewish Mother was in the present location of the Blue Light Grill. They featured live music upstairs, which was played very loudly with the windows open until the wee hours of the morning, meaning that those of us who lived within a block or two couldn’t sleep. The business went under before a noise ordinance could be passed, and so interest in such a law was dropped. In the summer of 2001, we all went through the process again, culminating in Council passing a downtown noise ordinance, starting at 10pm Sunday-Thursday and midnight Friday-Saturday. If it’s ever been enforced, I haven’t heard about it — perhaps that’s about to change.

11 thoughts on “Downtowners Angry about Concert Noise”

  1. I could hear the Pixies from my house in Johnson Village. And yeah, I love the Pixies and all, but not like this. There have been times when I’ve been walking past the amphitheater on my way to my car and had to cover my ears because it was physically painful to listen to. I can’t even image what a nightmare it must be for people living near downtown. Especially those with small children.

    I love this part from the Progress: “Every new venue goes through this,” [Kirby Hutto] said. “You don’t know how the sound is going to carry until you build it.” Hey geniuses, you built an outdoor concert venue with 4,000 seats and you’re surprised that it’s loud? Of course it’s loud. It’s meant to be loud. It’s the Allman brothers cranked through umpteen-kajillion watts. That’s gonna tend to make some noise.

    Why is everything about this entire project so stupid?

    If I wasn’t fixing to move out to the county soon, I would seriously run for city council next year. My message would be simple: ‘Why is everything so stupid?’ I think most people in Charlottesville would be right there with me. Enough of stupid, folks. Let’s never, ever do anything even remotely like the amphitheater again. Every time we are about to spend any amount of money, let’s ask whether this is really going to make any peoples’ lives in Charlottesville better and then ask who it could hurt.

  2. didn’t they want to put this on pantops and everyone protested about the noise level out there.

  3. Yup. That was about 10 years ago, IIRC. Simultaneous proposals for thousands of residences surrounding a much, much larger amphitheater were not very well thought through.

  4. “Greene County rejected it also. ”

    They proposed this for Greene?! I thought Greene was just a suburb not a travel destination for entertainment…

  5. I think the ampitheater as a whole was a bad idea. In my opinion it was too much like when the NFL comes to a town and wants to build a stadium, but only if the local government will put up taxpayer dollars.

    I can’t help but imagine a situation when the city was approached for the ampitheater, and that someone involved in making the decision must’ve remembered that the City of Charlottesville had a shot at the indoor mall all those years ago and passed it up only to see the developer take it to the county, where it became a revenue boon for them.

    As to the noise issue, that’s to be expected. But then where were these residents when this major improvement to their neighborhood (the ampitheater) was still in the discussion phase? I work in a building near the ampitheater, often late, and all I’ve ever heard is a dull muffled sound much like a kettle drum. For me it’s easy to ignore.

  6. Very rarely is anything perfect first time out of the gate, and the construction isn’t finished. The transit center boondoggle will certainly help dampen the noise. Then the operators can tweak what they need to tweak to make more people happy and contain more of the sound. I live just far enough away from the pavilion to have thought that the Widespread Panic show was just some crazy neighborhood kids cranking the bass in their cars!

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