Legal battles continue for Starlite Drive-In in Christiansburg

Business seeking injunction to prevent future noise ordinances

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Legal battles continue for Starlite Drive-In in Christiansburg.

A noise ordinance against the iconic movie theater was dismissed just two weeks ago but the fight is far from over.

Starlite Drive-In has been a staple in Christiansburg since it opened in 1953, but owner Peggy Beasley said things changed when they installed new speakers in 2016.

"There wasn't but five or six people complaining. They said it rattled their doors and windows. And I don't agree with that 'cause I live right over there and I’ve been to the house when a movie's on. It's not rattling nothing," Beasley said.

People living nearby complained and police ticketed Starlite for noise disturbance in May. That was thrown out last month after attorneys successfully argued that was part of the theater's business operations.

"I said ‘hooray.’ But I just don't think it's over," Beasley said.

It's not over just yet. Starlite is seeking an injunction in circuit court to keep authorities in Christiansburg from filing more noise ordinances against them in the future.

"It’s just a tradition," Montgomery County resident Anita Sutton said.

10 News spoke with some locals who grew up going to the iconic theater and say they don't understand the conflict.

"I don't see where it's that much of an issue because I didn't think it was that loud," Sutton said.

Beasley said she already took a hit from the legal issues this year.

"Nobody showed up. If they can't hear it, they're not coming," Beasley said.

She says she's worried about what could happen in the future.

"I hope we get to stay around ‘cause daddy told me before he died, 'Keep it going, Peggy. There'd be a lot of disappointed people if you close it.’ That's what I’m trying to do," Beasley said.

A town of Christiansburg spokesperson said they're currently revising their noise ordinance to make it simpler, clearer and to provide for civil penalties instead of criminal ones.