Mount Pleasant leaders pass program to reduce noise

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:14 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 12, 2022 at 11:39 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant town leaders have passed a pilot program that could lead to changes in its noise ordinance.

Mount Pleasant Town Council agreed Tuesday night to the program, which would collect data about excessive noise in the town in an effort they hope will keep both residents and business owners happy.

The pilot program would serve as a trial period that would not allow sound above 55 decibels town-wide. Town officials say the goal is to strike a balance between entertainment and improving the quality of life for residents.

“We want entertainment and we want music on Shem Creek, but we need livability for our residents,” Mayor Will Haynie said.

The current ordinance has been in place for over a decade and does not specify a specific number of what is considered too loud. The sound would be measured from the property of the person making a complaint.

Haynie said 55 decibels is comparable to a conversational tone. He said Shem Creek has been the subject of many of the complaints the town has heard from residents, but it’s not just about live music. There have been complaints town-wide about loud mufflers, leaf blowers, air conditioning systems, and backyard parties.

“When you go to bed at night, you ought to be able to sleep and you ought to be able to have the quiet enjoyment of your own property,” Haynie said. “And that’s what we’re aiming for, is the balance between entertainment and quality of life. And that’s why we’re taking such a deliberate approach.”

Councilmember Jake Rambo said he has some concerns about the 55-decibel level.

“Noise at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon is not the same thing as noise at 11:30 at night on a Tuesday night when the kids got to go to school the next morning,” Rambo said. “Those are two very different things and to me, there needs to be some level of adjustment there”

Skipper Kress, beverage director and event coordinator at Red’s Ice House on Shem Creek, said the 55-decibel limit would be “crippling” for businesses in this area.

“All we want to do is have the rules set in place to where they work for everybody,” Kress said. “And as long as that’s what the city is doing and as long as they’re working with us as well as working with the people of Mount Pleasant, the people that live around Shem Creek, we’re like everybody else. Just tell us the rules and we’ll do that too.”

Rambo said there needs to be compromise for both bar owners and area residents, and the ordinance could allow everyone to be on the same page and know exactly what the guidelines are.

“The goal of this is to strike a balance,” Rambo said. “It’s not to ban live music, and it’s not to allow live music to be ridiculous 24/7 all of the time.”

If passed, no fines or tickets will be issued during the 90-day period, which would take place during the area’s prime season. Officials say the period will be used to collect data and feedback to see how the ordinance would work.

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