The latest development in a voluble back-and-forth of about four years, the filings spotlighted a potentially problematic typographical error in the city code.
A violation of the noise ordinance is misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to
"What are they going to fine me over? I'm going by the laws of our city. They have set a decibel reading. I follow that. I follow that every week," Clayton said, countering ongoing complaints by neighbors
Woods, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, regularly calls the
Appearing before the
"Your peace and repose is your sleep at night," he said, thumping on the podium to illustrate the bass beat that reaches his walls. "Can you sleep with somebody beating on the outside of your house?"
Responding to Woods' calls and taking decibel readings near the Back Porch,
"They had a reasonable conclusion," he confirmed Thursday. "
According to Clayton, the ultimate resolution to the misdemeanor violation was the construction of a gateway, at his expense, across the opening of a gap between the former Kilgore Crisis Center building and adjacent commercial properties on
Instead of the
The already-resolved violation from August falls in the same period as the fresh complaints filed this week -- Woods, filing Wednesday, restricts the alleged noise violations to
Putting a call in to his attorney Thursday, "I don't know what I'm going to do yet ... I'll fight it as best I can," Clayton said. "I've done things that were supposed to have been approved by the court and (Woods) agreed on it last year. We haven't done anything to cause us to have another ticket this year and yet he's still doing what he does."
Per the summons issued Wednesday, Clayton is scheduled to appear before the city's municipal court at
A pre-trial hearing to organize the case, Phillips allowed the appointment hinges on Clayton's decision: he could choose to plead guilty and accept up to a
A criminal issue, the city is prosecuting the matter, Phillips emphasized. After filing their complaints, Woods' and Petty's involvement will be as witnesses as necessary.
"It's an interesting situation," Phillips mused. "You have a business that is successful, provides what appears to be a needed service in this community, but you also have residents in their homes who appear to have some distress with it."
Complicating the issue is the current wording of the ordinance, adopted on
Konczak pointed out an apparent typographical error, Phillips explained: the final "or" of the section was "of" in the previous version of the ordinance.
"You can tell they meant to put 'of' but they put 'or,'" he said, as in similar ordinances in other communities.
While the court has original jurisdiction over the city's ordinances to hear cases, correcting the troublesome typo falls to
For now, the ordinance is what it is: the misplaced 'or' muddies the issue beyond the two-pronged qualification of a violation.
In addition to the objective, measurable 85-decibel limit, "As it's written, you have a second test," Phillips said, the "peace, comfort and repose" Woods and Petty contend is being disturbed.
It's vague, Clayton contends.
"It's like, what's peace to one is not peace to another," he said. "It's amazing we get as many people as we do that come inside to hear music and love it, but we've got one or two that don't like it. I'm stuck."
For Phillips, it's a difficult question to answer: "What are ordinary sensibilities in the vicinity?"
Before the technology evolved, "It was very difficult to measure noise," he noted. Today, with objective measuring available, "I'm told that the majority of the communities in
Vicinity, too, is undefined -- within range of the Back Porch are residences (occupants ranging from young families to college students and older homeowners), other commercial properties and
"What would make things easier is if we had an ascertainable standard," Phillips said, such as the decibel-reading alone. In the end, however, "Our jurisdiction, basically, is fine only ... It's not my role to get involved in writing ordinances, obviously."
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