Raleigh City Council passes nightlife permit ordinance, punts noise ordinance update to 2024

Sean Coffey Image
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
New nightlife permit ordinance passes in Raleigh
Renewed efforts to cut back on noise in the capital city were discussed again on Tuesday, with Raleigh City Council passing a new nightlife permit.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Renewed efforts to cut back on noise in the capital city were discussed again Tuesday, as Raleigh City Council took up conversation on both a new nightlife permit ordinance as well as an updated noise ordinance.

The nightlife permit would replace the Raleigh Amplified Entertainment Ordinance and would effectively change the rules that govern bars, clubs and nightlife spots in the city. Among the changes would be increased security requirements for Raleigh businesses found to be repeat locations of violence or drug crimes and an increase in penalties for businesses that break the city's noise and safety rules.

Under the new ordinance, which passed council unanimously Tuesday, nightlife spots that stay crime-free would be exempt from security requirements including an officer or guard on-scene. Penalties for first-time offenders of the nightlife permit requirements would scale up from $500 for the first offense to $2,500 for the second in 12-months, all the way to suspension of the necessary permit for the 4th offense. Establishments that already have the existing, Amplified Entertainment Ordinance permit and apply for the new permit within 90 days would automatically receive it but have to start reapplying next year.


Some investors on Glenwood Avenue shared concerns about the unforeseen impact of the new rules.

"I don't think there's one size fits all for the entire area," said investor Pete Rivera. "I think that Glenwood and this entire downtown area constitutes for like 3% of the overall tax base for the entire county. So we can't really mess with that too terribly much."

SEE ALSO | Calls for more police presence along Glenwood South ramp up after another violence incident

"Nobody wants to be having some drinks and then have people fly by in their cars."

Noise Ordinance

Then there's the city's new noise ordinance, which would do away with decibels for determining noise violations altogether. That system would be replaced by the "reasonable person" standard, meaning enforcement would depend on new definitions for what a reasonable person would consider "unreasonable noise." City officials pointed out that those are legal terms, and officers are already being trained on how to judge them.

Raleigh Police Captain Robert Bowen said the policy will be fueled by common sense.

"We can get all the calls in the world from people that are upset about noise, but if there's no violation there, then officers can't and won't issue a violation," Bowen said.

Meantime, homeowners in Glenwood South contend that the current policy just isn't working.

"Mostly it's causing problems with sleeping, not being able to get to sleep till two or three in the morning," said one homeowners who did not want to be identified. "Sometimes kids waking up because the noise is too loud and have to go to school next day. And we have to kind of deal with that."

The updated noise ordinance was not voted on Tuesday; council hopes to take the matter up at their first meeting in 2024.