Extremely loud and incredibly close: Fort Worth weighs new noise ordinance

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(CBS) FORT WORTH, Texas -- Officials in Fort Worth are turning up the volume over the city's noise ordinance, rewriting it to make it more specific and easier to enforce.

CBS DFW reports Fort Worth's deputy director of planning and development, Dana Burghdoff, said that one of the big changes includes the use of a decibel meter.

"If you've got a resident complaining then we would measure the noise from their property line and we would use the residential level at their property line," Burghdoff said at a public meeting Monday.

Burghdoff noted the biggest problems include "bars and restaurants, where there's loud music or loud patrons and there are complaints from neighbors, and then the second is animal noise - dogs and roosters to be specific."

The current noise ordinance that some call vague includes descriptions such as "unreasonably loud noise." The new ordinance would specify noise levels that can be measured with a decibel meter.

Some fear the proposed rewrite might get in the way of business, especially those who say their biggest draw is having an outdoor patio and live music.

"We get our occasional noise complaint," said Clay Mazur, the owner of Capital Bar in the city's cultural district. "We are an outdoor music venue so our music carries."

Mazur says he is trying to fix the problem, and is building walls 18 feet high with covered decks to contain the noise.

Changes to the noise ordinance might include putting a 10 minute limit on a dog's barking, before the owner gets handed a citation.

The Fort Worth City Council could decide on the proposed changes as early as March.