MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A proposed noise ordinance in the Town of Mt. Pleasant passed the first town council vote 6-2 on Tuesday.

Now that the 90-day noise ordinance pilot program has come to an end, council members must decide whether or not to make the ordinance permanent.

According to data obtained by News 2 from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, there were just under 100 recorded instances of noise disruptions throughout the 90-day trial period. Some of those were called in by citizens as noise complaints, others were recorded proactively by officers on patrol.

The maximum decibel reading recorded was 85dB and the lowest was 14.6 dB.

Although the ordinance is moving forward to a second reading, council members along with citizens who spoke during the public comment section of Tuesday’s meeting, agree that some amendments, including the decibel limit and hours, should be made to the current ordinance.

As it’s currently written, noise (defined in the ordinance) is not to exceed 60dB during what the town calls daytime hours, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and 55dB during nighttime hours which are defined as 10:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Some people who spoke at the meeting say the 55/60 dB limit is too high, others say it’s too low. Council members are trying to find a balance as noise can be considered subjective.

“One officer might be called out on a Friday night to a complaint about a business and say ‘oh that’s reasonable’ but another officer might be called out and say ‘that’s’ excessive’ and write a $500 ticket to the business,” said Councilman Jake Rambo. 

Councilman Rambo believes the current ordinance targets the hospitality industry because he says other common disturbances, including lawn equipment, traffic, and construction, aren’t addressed in the ordinance.

“Most of the complaints that I hear about are lawn equipment, construction noise, mufflers, things like that… none of that is really addressed, but yet the local bar thats been there for 50 years can’t have a live musician louder than the level of our normal conversation right now,” said Councilman Rambo.

Skipper Kress manages Red’s Ice House on Shem Creek. He and his team have been working to adhere to rules and have purchased their own decibel readers to ensure they’re below the limit, but Kress says sometimes just the background noise at the restaurant is over 55 dB. The Shem Creek hotspot has also decreased live music in order to avoid disruptions.

“We’re doing it a lot less now. We’ve gone and started to move towards doing just acoustic things on the patio and making sure that we’re staying on the guys that are on the boats, especially if they’re tied up to our dock, and let them know that they’re looking at it…looking for it,” said Kress. “The Mt. Pleasant Police boats…they’re in the creek, they’re paying attention. Everybody has a decibel reader now. We use our decibel readers on a daily basis inside the restaurant to make sure we’re following up with everything we’ve been asked to do.”

Another concern he brought to News 2 is how police are able to identify the source of the noise.

Per the proposed ordinance, decibel readings are to be taken a the property line of the complainant.

Kress says there are several restaurants close together with a lively crowd or live music, as well as boats floating through the creek playing music on speakers, and more.

“That was the big determination that we were trying to make in all of this is how do you make sure that the ones that are guilty of making the most noise are the ones that are getting the tickets?”

Per town policy, amendments cannot be made to an ordinance during the first reading, but now that it has been voted forward, changes can be made.

“The key is striking a balance,” said Rambo.

This is a developing story, count on News 2 for updates.