Worthy Brewing will be allowed to slightly exceed normal noise limits for an Earth Day concert, the Bend City Council ruled Wednesday.
Councilors voted 6-1 to overturn City Manager Eric King’s denial of a noise variance for the brewery’s Saturday concert. They settled on a limit of 75 decibels — the equivalent of living room music.
The city allows noise up to 70 decibels — about the same level as a vacuum cleaner — in commercial areas.
Worthy requested a variance March 19 to allow noise to rise to 85 decibels — about the same level as the sound of city traffic from inside a car — for a planned Earth Day celebration featuring the local self-described “funky rock ’n’ roll dance band” Precious Byrd.
Brewery owner Roger Worthington said the intention was to remain within the city’s normal noise limits but the variance was requested to be on the safe side.
“It’s a live music event,” Worthington told the council. “There will be happy people playing great music, but it’s from 5:30 to 7:30.”
King denied Worthy’s request, citing the brewery’s proximity to a residential neighborhood, comments from nearby Bend residents opposing the variance and multiple 2018 police visits to the brewery for noise complaints.
Worthy responded that the complaints came from just three people, one of whom has made death threats against brewery event sales manager Lindsay LeBart. One of the complaints came on a night when the brewery didn’t have live music.
“Peel back the onion,” Worthington urged the council. “Look at the quality of complaints.”
Shelley Texley, a Bend real estate agent who lives within walking distance of the brewery, told the council she likes the live music at Worthy. People who don’t like the noise should recognize that the brewery provides value to the town, she said.
“They were there before all the housing was there,” she said. “If you don’t want to hear the noise, move out.”
Bill Moseley, the only councilor who voted against overturning King’s denial, said residents of apartment complexes near the brewery expected it to follow the city’s noise laws.
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