NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Is all noise created equal? Should loud music from a bar be treated the same as industrial machinery at a factory?
I.C. Willies, the subject of several noise complaints, is a bar that sits on industrial-zoned property. The city zoning ordinance says higher levels of noise are permitted in this zone than other areas. The bar will tell you they’ve already made concessions, with new soundproofing, improved security, and limiting music to four nights a week.
Yet it would be miserable to have a home near I.C. Willies. Four nights a week their music would be heard inside your home. You’d hear it during dinner, or while you’re watching tv. You’d hear it when you were trying to sleep.
This is a situation that goes beyond zoning. The core issue is being a good neighbor. There’s lots of evidence that the bar isn’t. Consider the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ incident last November. There can’t be public nudity inside the bar… so the bus, with topless girls inside, parks in their parking lot. That attracted more customers outside the bar, and more noise and crowd problems. This is a skirting of the rules… and the rules still weren’t followed. There were reports that some of the “girls” found their way into the bar too in violation of local ordinance.
The most recent complaint, from May 8th, involved the bar’s owner getting into a shouting match with police who were responding to another noise complaint.
Are there other bars with more complaints against them? Yes. Is I.C. Willies being singled out? I don’t think so. They are getting the extra scrutiny that comes from being a bad neighbor and being belligerent with police. And issues of liquor license renewals often come down to judgment calls made by the city licensing board. I.C. Willies has conducted itself in a way where judgment calls could go against them.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau