Noise violations go through municipal court, not council

Published 7:46 pm Monday, June 17, 2019

At last Tuesday’s council meeting, the owners of a downtown AirBnB came before the council to address concerns about excessive noise from Infusions Cocktail Bar and how the ordinance is enforced.

Mayor Jason Reeves explained to the owners, Jamie and Lindsay Taylor, that violators of the ordinance can pay the $200 fine up to three times before they have to appear before a judge.

Neal Armstrong, Troy Municipal Court administrator, said that is based on the court’s rules which allow certain fines to be paid out-of-court before a judicial appearance is required.

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“It’s like if you get a speeding ticket, you can come and defend yourself in court, but there’s also an option to just pay the citation,” Armstrong said. “You can do that three times before you actually have to come before a judge.”

In 2018, Armstrong said the Troy Police Department wrote 16 citations for noise violations, while a civilian wrote one and that in 2019 so far, the police department has written nine citations. Armstrong said about half of those violations were cited at being in the area of Infusions, or Trojan Tavern as it was formerly known, but only four or five were citing the bar itself while the others were against people outside of the bar.

Reeves also explained during the council meeting that in these cases, citations are actually written against the managers working at the time of the violation and not against the business itself.

The maximum fine that can be levied for a municipal violation is $500, Armstrong said, and although a municipal violation may be a jailable offense, Armstrong said judges have rarely ever issued jail time for a noise violation.

At the council meeting, Reeves brought up to the council a process by which a business license could be permanently revoked by the council.

“I could temporarily suspend a license until the next meeting, but then there would have to be a public meeting with both parties there for the council to decide whether to permanently revoke a license,” Reeves said.

The mayor and council did not take any action to start that process.

Jamie Taylor said he respects the council for listening to his concerns, but is not satisfied that there has been no administrative enforcement of the ordinance.

“The main point I was trying to make (Tuesday) night is that … we wanted an administrative response,” Taylor said. “… At what point is a violation situation deemed more urgent or needing a definitive solution?”

Efforts to reach Reeves for more information about that process were unsuccessful.