NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – A request to change North Myrtle Beach’s noise ordinance passed its first reading at Monday night’s city council meeting.
According to Mayor Marilyn Hatley, city officials and staff have received numerous complaints this summer about the noise level on Main Street and that the music being played has obscene and vulgar lyrics.
“When I say vulgar I mean it’s explicit, vulgar lyrics,” Hatley said.
Earlier this year, the city passed a noise ordinance that would require all noise that can be heard off a property to stop between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The amendment would add to that.
“We don’t feel you have a right to force that music onto others, especially families with small children,” Hatley added.
Hatley said the city has received more complaints about one business on Main Street in particular, which caused them to enact this rule. Hatley did not name the business but said they’ve tried to work with them.
Hatley said people do have a First Amendment right so this wouldn’t prohibit that type of music altogether.
“If you’re inside your building, you can play any type of music that you would like and anyone can go and listen to any type of music that they would like,” Hatley said.
The change, if passed on all readings, would make it so music with obscene, vulgar, or profane lyrics cannot be played above 60 decibels from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and not exceed 80 decibels from 7:01 a.m. to 10:59 p.m.
“We are growing by leaps and bounds,” Hatley said, “people love to come here on vacation and we love to have them here and we don’t want them leaving because they don’t feel comfortable bringing their children here.”
According to the University of Michigan Health, 60 decibels can be compared to normal conversation or background music. Sounds of 80 decibels can be compared to a window air conditioner, heavy traffic, or a power lawnmower.
Hatley said law enforcement will know how to gauge this.
The change to the ordinance will be up for a second reading at next month’s council meeting.