Fort Valley to discuss noise ordinance after nightclub complaints

FORT VALLEY — City officials are expected to discuss changes to the city’s noise ordinance today, the talk prompted by several police visits to a new nightclub for varying sound levels.

The owners of The Swamp nightclub say they simply want something stationary with which to comply.

Fort Valley Police Chief John Anderson said his department has received numerous calls to the club, located at 1153 Peach Parkway, from nearby residents complaining of the noise. The owners were warned 16 times about the noise, Anderson said, before citations were issued. Anderson said the club received four or five citations, which each carry a $192 fine, for the noise. Among the changes the council will discuss is whether to make that fine as high as $1,000 in some cases.

“They’re concerned because they keep getting issued citations,” Anderson said of the club owners. “Officers have been going back and forth since the club opened. We’re interested in working something out so they can coexist.”

The problem, Anderson said, seems to be with residents in a nearby mobile home park, where the majority of the calls are coming from. He said if an officer is dispatched to the club and the music is “loud enough where you can hear it inside another residence,” club owners can be issued a citation for violation of the noise ordinance.

Club owners say they would like to find a common ground with authorities but cannot do so with an ordinance that has no set decibel level.

“We would like to know what to be in compliance with,” said Marcus Green, one of the club’s owners. “There’s nothing clear to follow.”

Green declined to discuss the situation further before consulting his attorney.

Anderson said he tries to understand the club owners’ concerns, but it’s hard when only one establishment receives the brunt of the complaints. Another club that opened two weekends ago during Fort Valley State University’s homecoming celebration has not received any noise warnings or citations.

“We’re trying to find a happy hunting ground,” he said. “But it’s been a continuous problem.”

To contact writer Marlon A. Walker, call 256-9685.