Area builders are chafing at a proposed city ordinance that would require them to hire acoustical engineers when building homes in or around Chattanooga's Amplified Music District.
They say keeping things quiet should be the responsibility of venue owners -- not residents.
When the City Council passed the controversial noise rule this summer to allow venues and bars to play louder music downtown, officials promised that the measure wouldn't hinder the city's downtown housing boom.
But last week, the City Council put off a request from a local builder to erect new single-family homes on the South Side, saying new building rules for homes near the district would be coming soon.
Councilman Moses Freeman suggested that the builder, Frank Goodwin, should have to comply with new building restrictions for his homes built so close to Track 29, a popular music venue that campaigned for the council to pass new sound regulations to boost Chattanooga's night life.
The City Council agreed and deferred the vote on the zoning request for two weeks.
Goodwin did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, Gary Hilbert, director of the city's land development office, said last week that the new rules would mean developers would have to sound-proof exterior walls on new homes.
"What we are considering doing is asking anyone who builds a house within 300 feet of the amplified music district to provide us with a report from an acoustical engineer or somebody equivalent that would design the exterior walls to cut down on the amount of sound that could be transmitted through those walls," Hilbert said.
No way, said Chuck Halloran, general manager of Halloran Corp. builders.
"That's the most ludicrous thought I've heard in a long time," Halloran said.
"If I'm the one building a music facility, I should be the one concerned with making sure that sound doesn't escape my property. They should put the burden on the people owning the music facility, not homeowners."
City Councilman Chris Anderson said he was not working on the proposed rule, but much of his district is in the music zone.
Anderson says he can see both sides, but the proposed building rule isn't completely off-base.
"I live across the street from railroad tracks, and it's not the job of the railroad to keep noise from going into my house," Anderson said.
He also doesn't think the new rule would hamstring the South Side housing boom.
"I'm sure it will [add costs] but the area we are talking about has some of the highest home values anyway. I don't think it will impact the fastest-growing housing market in the city," Anderson said.
The City Council is slated to hear the proposed ordinance next week.
Staff writer Joy Lukachick Smith contributed to this report.
Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at email@example.com, @glbrogdoniv on Twitter or 423-757-6481.