Complaints about loud, late-night music at two lakefront bars in downtown Wauconda have led to new rules designed to limit noise throughout town.
The village board Tuesday unanimously approved the restrictions, which cover music, construction noise and other sounds.
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In the works for two years, the proposal specifically was prompted by the live music at Docks, 313 E. Liberty St., and Lindy's Landing, 115 Park St. Both are on Bangs Lake.
Docks hosts live music Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Lindy's has bands Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.
Wauconda has other bars, but noise from those on the lake travels farther because sound waves are amplified by water, officials said.
Under the proposed rules:
• Sundays through Thursdays, the outdoor amplification of music would be banned from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
• Fridays and Saturdays, the noise ban would run from 11 p.m. through 7 a.m.
• The ban would run from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the nights before six holidays, too: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Additionally, on Fridays and Saturdays and the nights before the specified holidays, ambient noise from televisions, stereos or other sources will be allowed at the bars from 11 p.m. until they close as long as the volume doesn't exceed 50 decibels from the property line.
That's slightly lower than the sound of normal conversation, according to physicsclassroom.com.
The rules wouldn't merely apply to the bars on Bangs Lake. Residential parties and other events would face the same restrictions.
Noise from construction projects would be limited to 80 decibels. Most other types of noise would be limited to 65 decibels at all times.
Violators would face fines of up to $750 per incident and for each day the noise continues.
Trustees voted on the proposal without discussion Tuesday. The matter was hotly debated last week.
Several residents spoke about the issue earlier in the meeting. One, Ken Terrill, voiced concern that the noise rules could scare off entrepreneurs considering opening businesses in Wauconda.
"An hour or two one way or the other can make a big difference," Terrill said.
Resident Steve Johnson didn't think the rules went far enough. He said he and his wife have to leave their homes Saturday nights because of noise from the bars.
"We're not trying to shut anybody down here," Johnson said. "We just want a little peace of mind in our home on Saturday night."