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Downtown bar owners have received thousands of dollars in citations due to noise complaints

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The owner of Church Bar in Downtown El Paso said he has outstanding citations amounting to roughly $7,000 because of noise complaints. Ruben Salas joins several other downtown bar owners in saying it's getting to be too much.

"It does take a lot from us. You know, we're a small business downtown trying to stay in business," said Manny Barquin, the General Manager of Church Bar. "We're not asking to be loud all night. We're just asking for everyone downtown to come together so we could compromise."

Steve Alvarado, the Code Enforcement Director for the El Paso Police Department, said the City of El Paso is trying to work with downtown businesses.

"We've had meetings since October. We've had three phases... with the last phase occurring probably mid-May or June, with a full report that'll be presented to the city council. We've had many people participate, including bar owners, Restaurants Association of Texas, Downtown Management District, local residents, neighborhood associations, P.D., Fire, Military. It's been a wonderful process and I look forward to the end results and recommendations that they present at that time," said Alvarado.

Barquin said Church Bar has participated in at least one of those meetings. They, along with other owners, argue the city noise ordinance is unfair. Currently, it is considered a violation if businesses in the city produce noise levels over 70.0 decibels. Alvarado said that's roughly the noise level the average washing machine makes.

"City-wide readings have yielded some decibel readings at 83, 84 decibels. So some are much higher," said Alvarado. Barquin claims the citations Church Bar has received are just slightly over the 70.0 cap. Downtown owners are worried the citations, which many told ABC-7 they're receiving weekly, will impact the local economy if it results bars shutting down.

"It's not good for small business... and especially everybody trying to revitalize downtown. I foresee it getting louder, bigger, you know, and having this ordinance is going to really deter people from opening up a business downtown," said Barquin.

But Alvarado have a different perspective.

"I don't know if have an impact on local businesses. We respond to community complaints, whether it be a residential neighboring business or some other matter. So we're trying to look out for both the business owners and the the noise that impacts the community," said Alvarado.

ABC-7 will bring you Xtra depth on this issue Thursday on ABC-7 at 10.

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Kerry Mannix


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