CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Fallout continues after Christiansburg Town Council voted on a new noise ordinance that threatens the future of a popular drive-in theater. Tuesday night on 10 News at 11, we reported the ordinance, which takes effect immediately, was approved 5 to 1. Since then, social media has been overflowing with people reacting to the new rule. Most are very upset.
Christiansburg's new noise ordinance will give law enforcement a decibel level to look for when responding to complaints. While some think the rule is reasonable, many are concerned about the effect it will have on the Starlite Drive-In, a longtime town landmark.
"The noise I think is a good noise because you hear music in the air and it's just kind of a good happy noise and it's not a problem," said Christy Collins, who lives near the drive-in.
Collins has lived very close to the drive-in for close to 10 years. For her, the Starlite adds character to the neighborhood and has never been a noise nuisance.
"Never been a problem to us. We love the area and we've never had any trouble here. And the Starlite doesn't cause any trouble," said Collins.
Based on the new ordinance, businesses, and even churches with their bells, that believe they will be in violation of the ordinance, will have to apply for a conditional use permit. A local restaurant owner says the decision could not only cost him money, but the entire town, as well.
"The first outdoor show that we did we tripled our business for that evening compared to a similar evening and we tripled our meals and sales tax which goes to the town, so we're going to diminish what we're sending back to them," said Jared March, owner of Due South BBQ and Fatback Soul Shack.
The town of Christiansburg released a statement after the decision saying:
“The ordinance passed last night - which outlines the same maximum residential decibel levels as Montgomery County’s ordinance - is the result of five public comment meetings in which we took the feedback we received and used it to improve the ordinance. The ordinance we ended up with is very different than the ordinance we started with, and that’s because we used this process to work with residents and businesses and come to a solution together. Last night, Council waived the Conditional Use Permit application fee until Aug. 1 to allow entities to apply for the permit without encountering a financial burden. The Starlite submitted a Conditional Use Permit application on April 13 in anticipation that this ordinance would pass, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with them to find a solution that works for their business and the community.”