Hillsborough businesses rally to save nightlife as town considers noise curfew

Orange County News

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Some concerned residents in Hillsborough are afraid the nightlife in their town will be shut down if changes are made to the town’s noise ordinance.

The Town of Hillsborough’s Board of Commissioners is considering implementing some stricter noise ordinances after complaints about late-night live music at a local bar.

Hillsborough resident David Payne has lived in on Margaret Lane for 20 years and he has complained multiple times about the live music at the Hot Tin Roof, a sports bar and live music venue near the heart of downtown.

“We hear low-frequency bass noise that goes, boom, boom, boom, and we hear that from 8 o’clock until 2 a.m.,” Payne said.

But Kim Tesoro, co-owner of Hot Tin Roof, said that a majority of the time they are in compliance with the current noise ordinance.

Payne decided to take his complaints to the Town Board of Commissioners and ask that changes be made to the noise ordinance.

“I just don’t think this is fair to us as residents,” Payne said.

Town officials are currently considering requiring amplified sound be cut off at 11 p.m. every day of the week or requiring businesses to lower how loud music can play.

But Mark Bateman, co-owner of the Hot Tin Roof, argues that the current ordinance is already strict enough and that bands can’t play much lower than they are now.

Bateman said if they cannot have live music after 11 p.m., his bar and no other bars in Hillsborough will survive as the 11 p.m. hour is the busiest.

“My biggest concern is that we will be out of business,” Bateman said. “That will cost us $150,000 to $200,000 a year and not many businesses can take that hit.”

Bateman said the live music is what makes their business so successful land it has helped shape the nightlife in Hillsborough.

But Payne argues that the 11 pm cut-off hour is a fair compromise and that the Hot Tin Roof can look at ways to put in sound buffers to keep the sound from being heard in the neighborhoods.

“There’s probably not going to be a solution here that makes everybody happy,” Payne said.

However, Bateman disagrees.

“What town closes down at 11 o’clock at night other than Mayberry?” Bateman said. “Hillsborough prides itself on its vision and it’s vibrant future. But this ordinance would just kill it.”

The Hillsborough Police Chief is expected to create a noise ordinance proposal that he will bring back for the town’s approval.

The Hot Tin Roof is also looking at submitting their own proposal, which would include a plan to create sound buffers at their bar and require homeowners who live nearby to do the same thing.

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