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Residents wait for change after noise ordinance passes

By Jonathan Radford, jradford@wcyb.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:17:28 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 07 2013 07:01:56 PM CDT
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

People in one Johnson City neighborhood are hoping that change is on the way after the city passed a new noise ordinance.

Bill Bennedetto has lived in his Tanglewood neighborhood home for more than 22 years; but almost four years ago some new neighbors moved in behind him, and peace and quiet have been hard to come by every since. "Shortly thereafter, the noise started. We called them and it didn't really do a lot of good," said Bennedetto.

The noise was coming from the Electric Cowboy, a nearby nightclub. "We have tried, tried and could not do a thing. [The owner] has made empty promises to us that never were fulfilled," said Bennedetto.

After multiple meetings with the city, Bennedetto tells News 5 that he and neighbors finally got some traction. On Thursday, the Johnson City Commission passed a new noise ordinance.

The ordinance addresses C-level ambient noise, which is a low thumping sound.

Johnson City Police have to use special equipment to measure the sound, but we're told that it isn't quite ready for use. "The equipment has to be calibrated to make sure we are measuring those decibel levels properly. Many times you have to send the noise meter back or the calibrator that goes with the noise meter back to the manufacturer to have it check to make sure it is working properly," said Major Karl Turner.

We found out that process could take weeks.

Neighbors tell us that they are hopeful that the noise will stop, but they've yet to see any difference since the ordinance took effect. "In the evening if I choose to leave my bedroom windows open, I can clearly hear the bass of the 'thump, thump, thump' sound," said Ronald Zimmern, a Tanglewood resident.

One neighbor told News 5 that the noise even caused one family to put their home up for sale.

Violators of the ordinance will be given a $50 citation.

News 5 reached out to the Electric Cowboy about the situation and they have yet to return our phone calls.