By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Grayson’s noise ordinance currently restricts sounds over a certain level after the hour of 9 p.m.
But one downtown business would like to bring more entertainment into town this summer, and is asking for an amendment to that ordinance to allow outside musical performances until 11 p.m. on weekends.
Derrick McKinney, owner of Casey’s Lanes and 606 Bar & Grill came to city council last Tuesday to discuss his plans for expansion at his business – plans that include the addition of an outdoor stage and performance area. But to make the most of that area, McKinney is asking the city for the changes to the noise ordinance.
Code enforcement officer Joe Hammer told mayor Troy Combs and city council that there haven’t been any complaints about noise from the restaurant so far, but that McKinney was trying to be proactive by approaching the city’s code enforcement officer for guidance on the ordinance.
Combs said it was something the council could consider, but he wasn’t sure if a change would be necessary – as long as performances remained indoors or outdoor performances didn’t exceed the city’s prescribed decibel levels and the business drew no complaints from surrounding residents. While he noted there were a few residential homes in the area behind the bowling alley and restaurant, McKinney told the mayor most of the noise would be directed toward Carol Malone Boulevard and the Dyer’s Big Sandy building, not back into the neighborhood.
Combs also noted that the ordinance allows exemptions for special events, so McKinney could come to the city when he wishes to plan an event and ask for such an exemption if the ordinance was not amended.
Combs told McKinney he would put the issue under old business on the next agenda, and city attorney Jason Greer said he would present council with an amended ordinance to consider at that time.
In other action council heard from a couple who wish to have their road, McCoy Road, taken into the city road system. There are new homes being built along the road, which is currently graveled for a portion before turning to mud. Residents told the council their garbage trucks have had to back down the road after picking up trash, because they can’t turn around in the muddy conditions.
The residents said they’d already approached the county about taking the road into the county system, but were told they couldn’t do so since the road lies within city limits.
Combs said he would look at the issue, but would like to do more research on whether the road and homes were within the city limits, or within county jurisdiction, before he asked council to recommend a course of action.
“Much like Mr. McKinney’s issue, I think it’s appropriate now that these issues be brought to our attention, and that we do not act on them (right away),” Combs said. “They’re obviously going to require more research on our end to make sure we can legally take the road in.”
In old business council discussed the consideration of leash laws and other alternatives for addressing nuisance dogs. One issue council struggled with was whether putting their own leash law back on the books might preclude them from reaching an agreement with the county to pick up dogs within city limits, since it was previously repealed so that the county could address issues without being in violation of or charged with enforcing city ordinances.
“My thing is, if we go ahead and enact the law, and then we make an agreement with the county… my thinking is if we make a law regulating animals that people own, that’s different than asking the county to pick up stray dogs that are stray dogs,” Combs said.
After further discussion councilman Terry Stamper made a motion “that we pay $1,500 to the county to take care of picking up our strays.”
After still more discussion, and suggested amendments to revisit the motion on a yearly basis to make sure both parties were happy – which passed – and to tie funding cycles to the fiscal year – which did not pass – the motion failed to garner sufficient votes for passage.
Council did announce plans to continue discussions with fiscal court, however.
Council also discussed annexation legislation at the state level, drainage issues along College Street, and holiday compensation policy. Following lengthy discussion and debate council moved to approve holiday pay for part-time employees on select holidays, including Christmas, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving, among others.
Council also moved to add new treasurer Sherry Gallion to all relevant bank accounts, and form a committee to review the budget before moving into executive session to discuss employee issues and then adjourning for the evening.
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