The Snoqualmie City Council on July 10 unanimously struck down an ordinance to increase the hours for allowable noise in the city to 11 p.m. on summer weekends.
The ordinance would have allowed noise, such as from music venues, to last an additional hour on Fridays and Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, in the Historic Downtown District, Snoqualmie Ridge Neighborhood District and the Form-Based Mixed-Use zoning area, an area outside of the historic zoning but still in downtown Snoqualmie.
Bindlestick owner Rachelle Armstrong, who hosts live music on Friday and Saturday nights at her business in downtown Snoqualmie, requested the extension.
At a public hearing before the council’s vote, 12 citizens spoke on the proposed ordinance; all were against the extension, citing ongoing noise issues from the Snoqualmie Casino and a proposed amphitheater at the Mill Site.
“If this were to pass would this mean then that the casino would play until 11 o’clock? Would the proposed amphitheater play until 11 o’clock? I see a real problem happening here in Snoqualmie where potentially all these venues could be playing at the same time every weekend all summer,” resident Tracy Neether said. “This sets a precedent for all use and development. Being that we are in a valley, the noise carries much father and it has upset very many people here. The negative impacts to the residents of Snoqualmie should outweigh anything else.”
After the public hearing, each council member spoke on the ordinance and explained why he or she would oppose it. Brad Toft began by thanking Armstrong for starting a discussion, but said he couldn’t support it.
“For one business to come forward and propose something to the city is, in my view, welcome and for us to have some discussion around it is welcome,” he said. “But I have not seen any support from other businesses or like business in Snoqualmie that may benefit from an ordinance like this. So then you take into consideration, all of the residential concerns about it and it makes it very difficult for me to support something like this.”
Sean Sundwall said the request has revealed issues with the current noise ordinance, such as a lack of stated maximum decibel levels.
“Perhaps the best thing this request has brought up is how incredibly deficient our ordinance is. The fact that we don’t have a decibel reading came up when we first discussed this,” he said. “I don’t think this ordinance is fair to anybody… we don’t have a baseline way to measure what is a public nuisance.”
Bob Jeans, agreed added that the Snoqualmie Casino shuts down its concerts at 10 p.m., as a courtesy to the city.
“I’m particularly impressed by the casino, who we don’t govern, but they close their shop at 10 p.m. and that’s a big venue, that’s a lot of noise,” Jeans said. “Out of respect for them, I thank the casino for doing what they do, to a measure to keep things down, so I can’t support this.”