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Dave Olson, Published October 29 2012

Fargo OKs noise ordinance change

FARGO – The Fargo City Commission on Monday gave final approval to a change in the city’s noise ordinance that requires a permit from the Police Department for any outdoor event involving amplified sound.

Under the modified ordinance, no permits will be approved for an outdoor event with amplified sound if the activity would be held in an area zoned residential.

Exceptions will be made for community events, such as the Fargo Marathon and outdoor church activities.

Police Chief Keith Ternes said, in general, “If it’s an outdoor event that’s open to the public, where there’s no admission charge, you would be exempted from these restrictions.”

In the case of businesses that want to hold outdoor events with amplified sound, a permit could be issued if the event is beyond 500 feet of a residential neighborhood.

If a business wants to hold such an event within 500 feet of a residentially zoned neighborhood, the business may be granted a one-day permit and the business could only receive a permit once every 30 days.

“The balance here is that you can still have the event, but we try to provide homeowners with some relief from a continuous, throughout-the-summer kind of thing,” Ternes said.

He said city officials began looking at revising the noise ordinance in the spring of 2011 after getting complaints from residents who lived near bars that held outdoor activities.

“What they were really asking for was some modification to the noise ordinance that would provide them with some relief, but not to the exclusion of allowing businesses to have at least some outdoor activities,” Ternes said.

In other business Monday, the commission approved an idea brought forward by Commissioner Mike Williams to allow free bus rides through the MAT system for individuals who want to reach Fargo’s early voting locations, the Doublewood Inn, 3333 13th Ave. S., and the Hilton Garden Inn, 4351 17th Ave. S.

Mayor Dennis Walaker commended Cass County officials for making early voting a smooth experience.

“It was certainly simple today,” said Walaker, who did his general election voting Monday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555