GRAFTON TWP. — Township trustees are expected to consider amendments to the township’s noise resolution that would enable sheriff’s deputies to more effectively write citations for violations of the resolution.
Township Trustee Carl Wesemeyer said he plans to bring the amendments before the trustees during tonight’s meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the township hall.
The township passed the noise resolution last summer after residents complained about noise levels coming from The Jailhouse Taverne.
The two sides went back and forth last year after the bar and restaurant began holding outdoor music concerts on its property. Residents in the township began complaining to township officials about the noise levels coming from the performances.
The trustees eventually passed a noise resolution that banned any noise or sound that is “plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet or more from the property from which the noise emanates.” Soon after, an employee a The Jailhouse Taverne, John Taylor, was issued a citation for “excessive noise” by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.
In March, the case was thrown out of Elyria Municipal Court because the court ruled Taylor was not one of the three individuals who might be liable under the resolution. The resolution said the people liable were any person making the noise, the landowner and the lawful occupant.
“The defendant in this case is not accused of making the noise and there was credible information presented that he does not own the property nor is he the lawful occupant,” court documents said. “Mr. Taylor is an employee of the establishment known as the Jailhouse Taverne but does not fit any of the definitions as set forth in the resolution. Mr. Taylor is therefore not the proper defendant in this matter.”
Wesemeyer said the proposed changes to the resolution would allow deputies to issue a citation to a manager or acting manager of an establishment violating the noise ordinance.
“The main thing is we’ve got a noise resolution,” Wesemeyer said. “It didn’t work before. They were cited for noise, but that case was thrown out of court. The problem was our resolution didn’t actually mention the manager, acting manager or someone like that, which we found is actually the verbiage in the revised code.”
The township would like to get the changes to the resolution in place soon because The Jailhouse Taverne is planning on beginning its summer concert series in the coming weeks, according to Wesemeyer.
The Jailhouse Taverne did not return calls requesting comment.
In February, the two sides met during a special meeting held by the trustees and talked about working toward a compromise.
On May 6, The Jailhouse Taverne held an outdoor show and invited the trustees to attend, Wesemeyer said.
“The trustees went down and listened to it and checked (the noise levels) at various locations,” he said. “At the time, the volume and everything seemed to be OK. Obviously, they showed us that they can turn the music down.”
During the event, The Jailhouse Taverne showed trustees about changes they’ve made to the venue, including “the way the speakers are oriented and all kinds of different things,” Wesemeyer said.
The trustee said he did receive some complaints about noise levels after the trustees had left the restaurant, though.
“It’s not the trustees that are complaining about the noise,” Wesemeyer said. “It’s the residents that are complaining. All we’re doing is creating an avenue for them to pursue those complaints.”
The noise resolution is meant to serve as legal recourse for residents who feel noise levels are too loud, Wesemeyer said. He also said it’s not aimed just at The Jailhouse Taverne, but “it impacts any company that might be making too much noise.”
“(We’re) letting the people decide for themselves if it’s too loud,” he said. “When the deputy comes out, if the deputy agrees with them that it’s too loud, it’s not just the people, but it’s also law enforcement agreeing it’s too loud.”
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