HEALTH & SAFETY
Live Music Industry
A New Jersey state appeals court has rejected a bid by the former owner of the Clarksburg Inn to overturn two convictions of violating the township’s anti-noise ordinance, ruling that such terms for noise as “loud,” “unnecessary,” and “unusual” don’t have to be defined by decibel levels. A 2003 trial before Municipal Court Judge Debra Gelson resulted in $1,250 in fines and $60 in court costs for summonses issued to the restaurant by the State Police, which provides police coverage to the township. The decision was upheld on an initial appeal to the Law Division of Monmouth County Superior Court. Roger Weltner, one of three witnesses at the municipal trial, testified that he lives 81 feet from the Clarksburg Inn and endured ongoing disturbances because of loud music. Weltner said he called police three times to complain on the night of Feb. 1, 2003. A three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of Superior Court wrote in its decision last week that attorney Richard J. Simon’s main argument for vacating the convictions that the township ordinance is unconstitutional because its definition of noise is vague was “unpersuasive.” Though 46 New Jersey municipalities regulate noise based on decibel levels, there is no requirement that towns establish such criteria, the justices ruled. Millstone’s anti-noise ordinance states it is “unlawful for a person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, unnecessary or unusual noise.” The playing of a musical instrument so that it is “clearly audible” 100 feet away is a violation, the ordinance says. This has been held to be a legal ordinance. In Toronto an appeal court has upheld a conviction against the Docks Entertainment Complex for violating noise bye-laws. The nightclub must pay $6,000 in fines and is prohibited from excessive noise at one part of its complex. The conviction stems from music events in the summer of 2001 when two live music events, the heavy-metal OzzFest and an electronica and hip hop event were held at the Docks. The Docks has not held any music events on that parking lot since.
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