State College

State College Borough Council asks for permission to regulate music at bars

The Borough Council unanimously voted Monday to refile a petition to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board requesting the borough be allowed to regulate and enforce amplified music heard off the premises of licensed establishments.

The borough had previously been allowed to conduct enforcement of music violations at establishments between June 2011 and December 2012.

“In the 18 months (the regulation) was in place, it worked fine,” borough Police Chief Thomas King said. “We still have the capacity to address loud music complaints at liquor establishments.”

King noted that during the 18 months, the police addressed 18 noise complaints. “Consider we have almost 1,000 calls a year for noise in the borough. Eighteen didn’t overwhelm us.”

The section of the liquor code that was discussed enforces only complaints about music in licensed establishments, not loud voices, according to the council agenda. “Based on the limited call volume for amplified music and the available noise control ordinance, the police department has the resources necessary to take responsibility for this enforcement again,” the document read.

The council had adopted a resolution to petition the PLCB to allow local enforcement of noise under the local noise code on Sept. 14, 2013, however, due to a change in code, the borough was required to resubmit the petition reflecting the correct language.

Because the petition included the word “regulation” and not “statute,” King said it had to be resubmitted.

Once the petition is sent to the PLCB, a public hearing would be scheduled, King said, possibly at Schlow Centre Region Library.

“The people that have feelings about this can come and talk about it before the liquor control board makes a decision,” he said.

Representatives from the Tavern Association of State College requested the police take responsibility for the enforcement of the music, according to the council agenda. It was also supported by downtown and tavern representatives at the meeting.

“We did have quite a discussion on this initially,” Councilwoman Theresa Lafer said. “It seems to have worked extremely well, and I think it would be a very good idea to continue it with the new format.”