Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Businesses concerned with noise ordinance changes

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The Mount Airy Town Council introduced an ordinance at its Jan. 7 meeting that would shorten the end time for daytime hours from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. and some local business owners are concerned that the difference will adversely affect their revenue.

A handful of business owners met informally Tuesday night to discuss the ordinance and its potential impact.

What is allowed and not allowed during nighttime hours is stricter than during the daytime.

The state uses a 10 p.m. end time for daytime hours.

The Town Council could vote on the ordinance at its meeting Monday at 7:30 p.m.

The majority of those present at the meeting own restaurants or eateries in Mount Airy and said that having a noise restriction at 8 p.m. would discourage evening customers.

Dan Leiter owns the Jimmie Cone in Mount Airy, an outdoor ice cream stand that gets busy during the summer. He said he sees an issue with the 8 p.m. end time during warmer months. ‘‘At the summertime, it’s still light,” he said.

Knittin’ Chicks shop owner Dalia Schulman also said she had concerns. Though her business is not a restaurant, she said bad business for them means bad business for other merchants.

‘‘They’re making it less and less attractive for businesses to reopen here,” said Bill Chapman, the owner of several Mount Airy properties and the person who called the changes to the attention of his fellow business owners.

‘‘People are not going to come downtown to eat dinner [if the noise ordinance is changed],” said Schulman, who is also the Mount Airy Main Street Association President. ‘‘It’s about reasonable expectations,” she said. ‘‘Very few people are in bed by 8 p.m.”