Vail looks to update its noise regulations
Current limits just a bit louder than normal conversation
Outdoor entertainment in Vail’s resort villages during the COVID-19 pandemic has been popular with guests, business owners and musicians. But that entertainment has brought question about the town’s noise regulations.
The town’s current rules have drawn some complaints from village residents, and officials are looking at revisions that would allow a bit more volume for street entertainers.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson recently told the Vail Town Council that new rules wouldn’t allow entertainers to turn their amps all the way up. Town Attorney Matt Mire said what’s currently being investigated is limits consistent with those in other towns.
Vail Police Commander Craig Bettis told councilmembers that officers would like more clarity in the rules they’re asked to enforce.
The crucial time for the new rules is between 2 and 8 p.m., Robson said. That’s when the most complaints come, he said. It’s also the time when the town is helping fund entertainment in the villages.
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Bettis told councilmembers that it can be hard to get accurate measurements, since sound levels can vary depending on where it’s measured.
Bettis said many of the complaints police receive come from people in condos and hotel rooms. Mayor Dave Chapin, who has said several times the rules need to be changed, asked Bettis for a synopsis of noise complaints.
Sonnenalp owner Johannes Faessler agreed that the rules need to be changed. Commenting during the virtual meeting, Faessler said the current 65 decibel limit is simply too low for events in the villages. Faessler also asked councilmembers to extend the current time limits for summer events, since daylight hours go past the current 8 p.m. cutoff.
“What we have now is extremely difficult to control,” Faessler said.
Current Vail limits for 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.:
Residential areas: 55 decibels, a bit less than normal conversation.
Commercial zones, including high density residential: 65 decibels, a bit more than normal conversations.
Industial service zones: 80 decibels, equivalent to city traffic heard inside a car.
All comparisons come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.