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Music venues in Grafton Township protest noise ordinance

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GRAFTON TWP. — Another organization is now battling with the township over outdoor music.

The Jailhouse Taverne, 15478 Avon Belden Road, has a petition on change.org and has been running advertisements in a weekly newspaper attacking the recent decision by township trustees to pass a new noise resolution.

“The trustees have modified their noise ordinance so that we cannot have concerts any longer or we face severe fines and potential jail time for ‘loud music,’” the petition on change.org said. “While we agree we are a nation of laws, we feel that the Grafton Township elected officials have overstepped their authority and are targeting our business by passing legislation that frankly, we don’t believe is enforceable in a court of law.”

According to township Trustee Jean Haight, the noise resolution was passed because of The Jailhouse Tavern.

“It was basically passed because our phones rang, even at 10 p.m., sometimes, from people surrounding the Jailhouse (Taverne) that could not get any sleep, or could their children get sleep for school the next morning, even with their windows closed.”

Over the past few months the township also has been in a battle with Lorain County Music Foundation, formerly Lorain County Music Fest, over whether live music festivals can be held within the township. Haight said the new resolution had nothing to do with Lorain County Music Foundation.

The new resolution was passed and signed Sept. 12 and immediately went into effect, according to Haight. The new resolution bans any noise or sound that is “plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet or more from the property from which the noise emanates.” The law doesn’t just pertain to live music, though; it also includes horns, signaling devices, radios, phonographs, televisions, musical instruments and internal combustion engines, “other than power mowers, trimmers, generators, chain saws or tillers.”

According to the Jailhouse Taverne’s advertisements, one of the owners was given a citation for “excessive noise” by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.

“If the noise can be heard at a distance of 100 feet, it goes against the noise resolution,” Haight said. “You could hear the music at 1,500 feet. One of the Sheriff’s deputies actually recorded it from 1,500 feet; you could hear the words to the music.”

In its change.org petition, the Jailhouse Taverne also contends the trustees refuse to talk with the owners on the matter. Haight said that’s simply not the case, though.

“I called two of the owners, and asked if I could talk to them in person. They never responded,” Haight said. “Anytime one of us has gone to the Jailhouse and asked if we could talk to one of the owners, the answer has been, ‘Talk to our attorney.’”

The Jailhouse Taverne declined to talk with The Chronicle-Telegram on the issue Monday.

Haight said the new resolution replaced a noise resolution that allowed for live music to be played until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The new ordinance doesn’t have any time constraints.

The new resolution provides exemptions for agricultural machinery, hunting and organized school-related and township events and parades.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.



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