Downtown bar owner requests City change noise ordinance

Downtown bar owner ask City to change noise ordinance

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Is the current noise ordinance hurting downtown businesses? One bar owner says it is and is asking the Lake Charles City Council to once again change the ordinance to support the so-called entertainment district.

In his seven years of operation Luna Bar & Grill owner Dave Evans has had ongoing problems with the City's noise ordinance. As downtown's premiere live music venue Evans moved his outside entertainment operation at Luna Bar & Grill across the street to Luna Live back in July.

"Pretty much I moved my entire live music - all the noise I was making outside - over across the street inside. I spent a lot of money in doing that," said Evans.

While he thought it was a solution, Evans said he has had nothing but problems. Evans said the tenants living upstairs above Luna Live constantly complain about the noise from the live music and call police. Within the last week he was shutdown three times hours early.

"It's killing me it's cutting my revenues in half," said Evans.

Evans requested the council to reconsider the ordinance and support the so-called entertainment district he's trying to create.

"I push downtown more than any other citizen in this city. I have the restaurant and business that is the anchor of this area. If I pick up and move the downtown is going to die. I know that," said Evans.

Under the current ordinance music should stop at 10 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. Lake Charles Police Deputy Chief Mark Kraus said they've received 43 noise complaints (13 on Luna Live, 30 on Luna Bar & Grill) on the two businesses and wants the council to clearly define how they should respond.

"The police department is sensitive to the needs of both citizens and business owners in our community. And we would also like some clear direction from the council as to how to handle that because the decibel meter is not working. It just does not work," explained Kraus.

Recognizing the problem the council agreed and suggested if tenants don't like the noise they might want to think about that before moving near that distract.

"I think part of the frustration comes as that ordinance is so subjective that there is really not a lot of objective criteria to go by," said Councilman Stuart Weatherford.

"We are going to either have to say this is an entertainment zone or something or no we need to say you need to live down there or get out. But I think we need to make a commitment one way or the other," said Councilman Dana Carl Jackson.

"I agree with Mr. Jackson. We need to look at that ordinance a little bit closer and as he so stated we need to make it a district where you expect to hear loud music," said Councilman Rodney Geyen.

Mayor Randy Roach said they are looking into the matter and hope to find a balance for downtown residents and businesses to co-exist.

"City Administrator John Cardone has researched the ordinance to see what other communities in similar situations are doing. Within the next few days we hope to have a memo for you on a reasonable way to approach the problem. We need to figure out how to make it work and that is what we are committed to do," said Roach.

Council President John Ieyoub asked the administration to have a recommendation by next agenda meeting.

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