Residents lose sleep over business’ violations

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — The spotlight is on a local bar after residents had enough of the excessive noise they say emanates from the featured talent.

Dennis and Janice Murphy live in the 200 block of Elm and share an alley with DoHickey’s Restaurant and Bar, 232 Maple St. They said the restaurant built an elevated platform for the bands playing for those who frequent the patio area.

Their concerns with the noise came after the business added the live music to accompany the patio seating, they said, and they understand that the added entertainment brings business to the bar, but it has become more than just an occasional problem.

“We want Wyandotte businesses to be successful, but it has turned out to be more than just an occasional problem,” Dennis Murphy said. “There is no containment of the noise. We hear the performances as if we are one of their customers.”

The couple said their tenant wears earplugs and uses sleep aids and still has trouble sleeping because of the noise. Dennis Murphy said there isn’t a place in the house that someone can’t hear the noise.

“We cannot escape the noise level,” he said. “It is a relentless, methodic thumping of the bass, which at times permeates the whole house. People have told me to go places on the weekend, but I shouldn’t have to leave my house for a break from the noise.”

Dennis Murphy said he did research and found a patio cafe ordinance that limits noise at the lot line to 55 decibels and requires a six-foot fence between a residence and any business with patio seating. The bar, Dennis said, does not have any barrier between the stage and residents’ houses.

Mayor Joseph Peterson said he spoke with the owner of the bar, Jim Hickey, prior to the council meeting and Hickey said he doesn’t want to make any of the neighbors unhappy and was more than willing to conform to any ordinances.

The city has a noise ordinance in place that regulates the noise levels residents experience and, Peterson said, requires permits for an elevated stage. The ordinance restricts noise from an outdoor cafes to 70 decibels between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and 55 decibels between 8 p.m. and midnight.

Dennis Murphy said he measured the noise at the back of his house and property line with a sound level meter and it reached 80 decibels and 95 decibels, respectively.

“We live downtown. We’re used to the noise and we’re used to the parking problems,” Janice Murphy said. “But the one thing we’re not used to is Pine Knob out our back window.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at