The village of Fremont continues to look at how to balance the interests of residents and businesses when it comes to concerns about noise.
Approximately 30 people attended a meeting of the village’s Ordinance Committee Monday, Sept. 13, for discussion about the village’s noise ordinance and a consulting proposal.
The proposal from Arrow Audio of Kimberly would call for the company to provide an environmental noise study of selected waterfront and surrounding neighborhood areas by using sound pressure level readings.
The cost would be $90 per hour on business days, $125 per hour on nights and weekends, with travel charges of $55 per hour.
Village Trustee Denis Scharine said the village is looking for input from professionals in regard to how to deal with noise issues.
No action was taken Monday night, and many residents in attendance said they were against the idea of spending taxpayer dollars in this manner.
Some residents have complained when bars have bands outside during the summer.
The village’s current noise ordinance allows bars to obtain special permits up to twice per month between Memorial Day and Labor Day so that bands can play until midnight.
Village President Dan Sambs has been in contact with officials from the city of New London, where work is under way on developing an ordinance. That community is looking at allowing a maximum of 70 decibels at property lines.
One village of Fremont resident said that is not achievable, saying that mowing a lawn would fall above that number.
Sambs said he was simply explaining what another community is doing – not saying Fremont has to adopt the same thing.
Village Trustee Per Dobbe said the board should look into how many complaints there have been about noise, and Village Trustee John Kohl said a handful of people are making the complaints.
Lance Shellman, of Banana’s Entertainment in De Pere, books bands that play at both Liquid Assets and Channel Cats in the village. He also books bands that play at Clear Water Harbor on the Chain O’ Lakes.
He said that for the last five years, live music has been a “sticking point” in Fremont.
Live music brings people and money into the community. Shellman said he is willing to work with the community to address the issue.
“I think a lot of the problems are because of a lack of communication,” he said.
In the past, residents have complained about the windows in their homes shaking when outdoor bands play. Some of them live across the river from the bars.
Kohl reminded those in attendance Monday that they live in a resort town. Shellman said he would hate to see any of the establishments in Fremont be hurt because of the issue.
Village Trustee Randy Hofstetter said, as he has at previous meetings, that the board is willing to work with the businesses and would like to see them make an effort by building backstops.
Shellman said backdrops could buffer the noise. “So much of this is fixable,” he said.
Hofstetter said, “A couple pieces of plywood is what we’re asking for. The people come to us, and we express what they tell us.”
Scharine lives across the river from the village’s downtown and said, “I don’t think anyone would have a problem with bands if the decibels were down.”
Shellman said band contracts can include stipulations regarding noise.
“Obviously, we have more work to do,” Scharine said.