Sep 21, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
July 29 was a Sunday, the traditional “day of rest.”
When the Southern rock band Alabama Shakes took the stage at Paper Mill Island that evening, however, peace and quiet was the last thing on their mind. One of the tracks on the band’s debut disc says it all: “Goin’ to the Party.”
The July 29 party grew louder and louder prompting village Water Foreman Chuck McAuliffe to ask the band’s sound engineer to bring down the music’s volume to comply with the village noise ordinance. Village Engineer Tim Baker told the Baldwinsville Village Board of Trustees at their Aug. 16 meeting that the roadie responded not by lowering the sound but by turning it up.
Trustee Rick Presley discussed the sound volume at the Alabama Shakes concert.
McAuliffe informed the trustees that after monitoring the noise level with a sound meter, village officials at the venue told concert promoter Dan Mastronardi to lower the volume, but it remained as loud as ever. The trustees decided that the concert’s noise level represented a violation of its agreement with the promoter, and voted in favor of forfeiting Mastronardi’s $1,500 security deposit.
Meanwhile, the board invited Mastronardi to discuss the issue with them at their next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 20. Mastronardi’s own company is called MAST Presents, and he’s also associated with Upstate Shows which books the Westcott Theater.
Baldwinsville Mayor Joe Saraceni said Mastronardi may end up getting some or all of his money back.
“There’s some flexibility there, but the main focus is not the money,” Saraceni said. “In fact, it has been a good year on Paper Mill Island. We’ve had very few complaints regarding sound levels this year, and we didn’t get any about the Alabama Shakes concert.”
The real issue, the mayor said, is that “the ultimate responsibility for what takes place on the island has to lie with the promoters.”
The Pittsburgh-based jam band Rusted Root was slated to headline a Sept. 18 triple bill there also featuring Lucy Stone and The Boatmen.
But a spokeswoman for the Keller Williams – a multi-talented Virginia musician a.k.a. K-Dub set to headline a Sept. 22 show also featuring Ithaca indie rockers Donna the Buffalo – announced last week that Saturday’s concert would be moved from Paper Mill Island to the Westcott Theater, on Syracuse’s East Side.
“Due to recent changes governing the noise ordinances in Baldwinsville, NY,” stated the press release from Madison House Publicity, “the event featuring Keller Williams and Donna the Buffalo on Saturday, Sept. 22, will be moved to the Westcott Theater in Syracuse.”
In fact, there has been no recent change to Baldwinsville’s noise ordinance. It clearly sets the limits for sound at 70 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and at 60 decibels from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Over the past decade, Paper Mill Island has hosted local and national acts such as Ani DiFranco, After FX, Bright Eyes, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Joe Whiting and The Wailers. The amphitheater, which opened Sept. 16, 2000, can accommodate roughly 3,000 concertgoers on the island adjacent to Lock 24 on the Seneca River.
Village officials want to strike a balance between the concerts and the community.
“It’s a beautiful spot,” Saraceni said, “but it’s surrounded by water, which carries the sound. We want it to be an attractive venue, but we have to be able to assure that our residents are not burdened by it.”
Village of Baldwinsville noise ordinance
A. No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound on a particular category of property or any public space or right-of-way in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the particular sound level limits set forth as follows: between 7:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M., seventy (70) dBA’s and between 10:00 P.M. and 7:00 A.M., sixty (60) dBA’s when measured at the adjoining property line nearest the sound source.
B. No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the existence of unnecessary sound, which tends to injure, alarm, annoy, harass or disturb the peace or enjoyment of property of another.
Exceptions: Church bells/chimes, public agency sounds used as warning devices, lawnmowers and snowblowers, public utilities, school events, authorized exhibitions and certain business and industry noises.
Editor’s note: Decibels adjusted, abbreviated as dBA, is noise power calculated in decibels.