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DL takes first step toward allowing outdoor bands to play until midnight

Looks like bands will be able to play longer this summer.

Detroit Lakes City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance changing the city's noise ordinance from 10 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, Sundays on those two holiday weekends, and July 3-5.

Before a vote of approval, alderman Leonard Heltemes made a motion to change the time from midnight to 11 p.m.

"Eleven is a compromise. To me, we need to find a happy medium between businesses and tax-paying citizens who live within earshot," he said.

In the beginning, the motion was to pass a policy, saying business owners would have to apply each year for a permit. Alderman Walt Tollefson said he thought that would be too confusing for police to know which establishments had the permit and which didn't.

City Attorney Bill Briggs said he felt the motion should be for an ordinance, which would need to be read twice before going into affect, rather than a policy where it would be read once and be approved.

Thus the council changed the motion to an ordinance rather than policy.

Alderman Bruce Imholte said he was in favor of the change to midnight, reasoning that most young people aren't going out until 10 or 10:30 p.m., so it would defeat the purpose to force bands to stop playing at 11 p.m.

Similarly, Alderman Ron Zeman said with Detroit Lakes competing against larger lake towns, Detroit Lakes should push the time to midnight in order to support local businesses.

Alderman G.L. Tucker agreed midnight was reasonable because most people near the venues are understanding, and there wasn't a strong turnout at a previous public meeting of people speaking against the issue.

Mid-discussion, Alderman James Hannon made a motion to table the issue, which was defeated.

The ordinance passed its first reading on a 6-3 vote, with Tollefson, Heltemes and Hannon voting no. The second and final reading will be at the March 7 council meeting.