A Columbia bar owner is defending his business after it was called out in a city report Friday.
Councilman Ian Thomas said several downtown area residents have complained to him about excessive noise late at night from Harpo’s on South Tenth Street.
Last September, Thomas asked the city manager and staff to put together a report on the violations as well as the city’s current noise ordinances and the Columbia Police Department’s strategy on peace disturbances.
That report will be presented to the city council on Monday.
Over the last 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase int eh number of people living in and going to the downtown area, according to the report. And with more people comes more noise.
In the last two years, there have been 11 peace disturbance calls for Harpo’s, the report said.
Harpo’s owner Kevin Fitzpatrick told ABC 17 News there was not an issue until the building directly east of the bar was converted from an office building into apartments.
“Our noise hasn’t increased or decreased,” Fitzpatrick said. “The use of the neighboring properties has increased, or has changed I should say not increased, from office to residential. That’s one part of the problem.”
Six of the complaints were made by the same person, the report said. Fitzpatrick said he thought the complaints were all made from that neighboring apartment building.
The bar owner said he also believed the city’s noise ordinances for the downtown area were outdated.
“The noise ordinance for downtown Columbia is the same as it is for Nifong and Providence,” Fitzpatrick said. “And that’s antiquated. The city needs to understand that the downtown area is a hospitality zone. And hospitality zones need to have different noise ordinances than suburban areas.”
Councilman Ian Thomas told ABC 17 News he would be open to discussing the downtown noise ordinances to see if the council can reach an agreement with business owners. But he said it is important to remember 5,000 people still live in the downtown area.
Earlier this week, ABC 17 News reported another new housing developing was proposed for the area near Ninth and Locust Streets.
“With the addition of more housing in The District these noise issues will likely continue to increase,” the city report said.