Does the noise ordinance need to be changed in Sioux Falls?

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - City Council members held an informational meeting Tuesday to hear how residents and business owners have been complying with the current noise ordinance, in general, in Sioux Falls. The reason this conversation of the noise ordinance has come into light is because of the complaints Icon Lounge has received since September. That's the same month residents of the Jones421 building began moving in.

The big question is whether Icon Lounge is an isolated incident or if noise could continue to be an issue because of the future development in downtown.

At last night's informational meeting, the assistant director of public health said her office has been working with the Jones421 building and the Icon owners since October. The reason is because the goal is to get the event venue within the noise ordinance guidelines. The owners of Icon Lounge have redone some of the building to help solve the noise problem.

Right now, the ordinance states anywhere in Sioux Falls, the noise in a residential area needs to be at 55 decibels starting at 10:30 PM. In a commercial area, it can be 65 dB at all times. That means even though Icon Lounge is a commercial space, when the noise is measured in a residential area, it has to be below 55 dB.

One of the owners of Icon Lounge said even with the construction they've done, that's going to be hard to get to.

"I think that's just the accommodation that people have to look at and try to understand is finding that compromise that the noise is going to be a little different than if you live in the suburbs of Sioux Falls," James Jacobson said, who is one of the partners of Icon Lounge.

City councilors are looking into whether or not the noise ordinance needs to be changed.

"We need to make sure that we do it in the way that's prudent and we know what we're doing before we make a rash change and then people can't sleep. I don't want to do that," Councilor Greg Neitzert said.

Councilor Neitzert said he still needs to look into the decibel levels before making any decisions.

Jacobson said Downtown Sioux Falls needs to have its own noise ordinance.

"A much more reasonable stand would be to adapt something like Omaha has done in their Old Market area, which is a constant 65 decibel for their mixed-use area, which allows people to understand there's going to be noise downtown," he said.

A concern right now is that there is a lot of development coming in the downtown area, like the Levitt Shell, which is an outdoor amphitheater, the mixed-use parking ramp, and more housing north of the Jones 421 building. Now, the city councilors will take the information from last night's meeting and look into whether anything needs to be done.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the assistant director of the public health department, Alicia Collura, gave an idea of what decibels sound like. She said cars driving on Minnesota Avenue during a busy time of day reads 60 decibels. Busy traffic on I-229 can read at 65 decibels. The way the city ordinance stands right now is that Icon Lounge needs to be below 55 dB.