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Paso Robles passes first noise ordinance to better respond to complaints

Posted at 7:03 PM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 22:46:05-05

Two major concert venues, an uptick in tourism in Paso Robles, and outdated standards led to the city taking a second look at its noise policies.

The city decided to update its noise element, one that's been the same since 2003. As more activities, venues, and people come to Paso, officials thought it was time to adjust the rules to fit today's standards.

For the first time, the city has added a noise ordinance, giving officials the tools to actually enforce noise complaints in the area.

It's a step in the right direction, according to Paso Robles resident Jeff Martin.

"I think it's a great idea, I think it should be that way," said Martin.

Noise was one of the eight elements that had to be addressed as part of the city's state-mandated General Plan, but a new noise ordinance that was passed unanimously by the city council on November 5 is different.

It gives the city a real way to enforce noise violations, something that was a struggle in the past, especially when dealing with concert venues.

"With the Mid-State Fair and Vina Robles, we have two large concert venues now, so we didn't have a lot of complaints about those venues, but when we had complaints and somebody wanted to know whether they were in violation, we didn't have a real standard," said Warren Frace, Community Development Director for the City of Paso Robles.

"I believe that everyone needs to get their sleep, too. I mean, they should pass it. After 10 o'clock they should shut it down, especially during the week," said Martin.

Frace says the city has worked with the community, concert venues and other tourist attractions to set maximum noise levels and times of day when noise has to quiet down.

"Normal conversations around 60 decibels, 70 is kind of when someone is talking loudly. Once you get into 80-90, that's when it's starting to get very loud. The daytime standard is between 60-70, and as we move into the evening it starts to drop down in 40s-50s," said Frace.

Concert venues and certain other locations will be allowed to keep the volume louder at night than the 40-50 decibel level in residential areas.

Frace says he expects the noise ordinance to be in place by the first of next year and the general plan noise element will be in effect in about 15 days.

The noise ordinance does require another public reading, which will take place next week on November 19.