Several Auburn residents urged the City Council on Tuesday night to consider adopting a noise ordinance after relaying their complaints concerning the new Auburn High School and an upcoming restaurant to be developed on Opelika Road.
Hugh O’Donnell and his family live adjacent to the new high school and told the Council that the football team’s speakers played loud, sometimes profane music that can be heard throughout his house for three hours every Monday through Thursday and said it was affecting the sleep of his 11-month-old child as well as his ability to work from home.
“What is the city going to do to address this?" O'Donnell asked. "Will there be a noise ordinance that the city will have to follow? There’s one in Opelika, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Gulf Shores, but there’s not one that I’ve been able to find in Auburn.”
Ward 5 Councilwoman Lynda Tremaine visited the O’Donnell residence prior to the meeting and agreed that the noise levels were inconvenient.
“They’re just wanting a peaceful existence in their own home, and I don’t think that’s asking too much of any of us in this building,” Tremaine said. “Your home is your sanctuary, and public schools should be a good neighbor.”
Over a dozen Auburn residents came to voice similar concerns over an upcoming restaurant that will take the place of the vacant Twin City Concrete building on Opelika Road.
Developers of the proposed restaurant requested that the Council allow their use of recreational space as well as a stage for live music, while surrounding residents were worried about the noise that it would bring to their neighborhood.
James Ryan, the president of the adjoining neighborhood’s home owner’s association, was one of the many to speak during the public hearing that night.
“There needs to be a philosophical change with respect to city rules,” Ryan said. “I think we’re being unscientific and backward not to create a noise ordinance that has a reasonable limit … I thank my neighbors for speaking out. None of us want to have loud music; we need to have a noise ordinance.”
Mayor Bill Ham said that the implementation of a noise ordinance would be difficult to establish when considering all of Auburn’s events and football games, while Ward 8 Councilman Tommy Dawson said that police can still protect against loud noise by charging offenders with disorderly conduct.
“The police department does enforce noise," Dawson said. "If anybody has a problem with noise anywhere you can call police officers out there and file a report. We do have a way here in Auburn of correcting a problem and doing something about it.”
Ham suggested that the city get in contact with Tuscaloosa officials in order to see how effective their noise ordinance has been at affecting change.
“I would be apprehensive to put anything on the books that’s really not necessarily enforceable,” Ham said. “I’d like to know what kind of success [Tuscaloosa] has … let’s find out how it works, and let’s find out how enforceable it is and does it solve the problem.”