White paper on Bend’s noise ordinance

BNC’s policy research work group completed its first white paper, which is on the city’s noise ordinance. We have met with the city manager to discuss these issues and will plan to follow-up with staff and city councilors to determine next steps.

Major Findings:

  1. Bend’s Noise Ordinance sets limits on noise that are substantially higher than those in Salem, Corvallis, and Portland Oregon, as well as Austin, Texas and Charlottesville, Virginia, two cities with universities and vibrant music scenes.
  2. Bend routinely issues permits that allow event organizers and establishments to exceed the noise limits, not only for special events like October Fest or Munch & Music, but for outdoor patios of restaurants or bars that abut residential neighborhoods – greatly impacting residents. Other cities are more selective.
  3. Certain Bend zoning issues increase the likelihood of generating conflict over noise.

Major Recommendations:

  1. That the City Council create a committee to review the Noise Ordinance, including noise limits, and bring those limits in line with other cities.
  2. That this committee also review the newly issued criteria used to approve or deny permits to exceed noise limits. Approving these permits should be the exception, not the rule.
  3. Bend needs to draft an enforcement protocol so that the city, police, and residents know how to proceed to initiate, respond to, and follow up on complaints.
  4. Bend should use zoning to encourage entertainment venues, especially outdoor venues that use amplified music, to locate where they are less likely to negatively impact residential neighborhoods.

To read or download the white paper, click here.

Author: Bend Neighborhood Coalition

Bend Neighborhood Coalition is the leading voice influencing policies that protect the quality of life in Bend's residential neighborhoods.