Kent to allow outdoor music in DORA

image of franklin avenue, a red brick street with long picnic tables scattered down the street. People are sitting at the tables enjoying drinks and chatting. The sky is overcast.
Asha Blake/ The Portager

Kent City Council recently amended its noise ordinance to allow radios, stereos and musical instruments to be played outdoors in the city’s designated outdoor refreshment area.

Bands and other forms of music are now allowable in the DORA from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 7 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Council has had its eye on the matter as far back as last June, when members received emails from Kent residents and local musicians requesting that city leaders support music in the downtown area.

Kent’s noise ordinance had previously stipulated that such noise as amplified music could not be played anywhere “with such volume at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb … any persons in the vicinity.”

The city’s DORA starts near the North Water Street and the Lake Street/Crain Avenue intersection, and includes the North Water Street Brewing Co. It proceeds south along North Water Street, veers off to include the Bell Tower Brewing Co. and Wild Goats Cafe, continues along Franklin Avenue to Summit Street, doubles back to travel along Haymaker Parkway, then zig zags its way back north along North Water Street.

Voting against the amendment were council members Heidi Shaffer Bish and Mike DeLeone, who said council had not had enough time to fully consider the measure. Council member Robin Turner abstained from the vote, and Chris Hook did not attend the meeting.

Turner, who had missed council’s two previous meetings, said he was unfamiliar with the matter. Shaffer Bish was not available for comment.

A trial noise ordinance has been in effect since last July. The permanent ordinance will take effect April 19.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.