Greensboro, NC - Two downtown Greensboro businesses have been sued by the city for violating the noise ordinance.
City documents show the Greene Street bar received citations for going over the 75-decibel limit several times.
The business received three citations in three months. On October 15, 2012, the owner, Earl Green, was cited with a decibel reading of 79. In November 2012, the business received another citation for a 76-decibel reading. Their third citation was received in December 2012 where the decibel reading averaged at 75.4.
"Once you reach three violations, we sue to first recover the money that is owed under the penalties but also to get an injunction to prevent future violations," explained Mujeeb Shah-Khan, City Attorney, Greensboro.
"This is perfectly normal. The city has enforced the ordinance the way its supposed to. The way we outline and promise the citizens it will be enforce the ordinance. Greene street disagrees with how we are doing it," added Shah-Khan.
An attorney for Greene Street Entertainment says there is a deeper issue. The owner believes his business is being targeted by the city.
He's countersued, claiming the ordinance is unconstitutional, selectively enforced and violates civil rights.
"We do believe they are being targeted because they tend to cater to African-American patrons and also on Sunday evenings, they draw lesbian and homosexual and gay, bisexuals, and that they've been targeted," explained Norman Klick, attorney for Greene Street Entertainment.
"If that's the way Greensboro is going to treat its business, we will not have a downtown anymore," added Klick. "I really believe this is serious to the future of Greensboro that this issue needs to be resolved."
Klick said his client denies he violated the city ordinance.
With this lawsuit, the city wants Greene Street to pay a $500 fine and wants a court order to prevent future violations.
The city has also sued the bar Syn and Sky, claiming they have violated this noise ordinance.
The Greensboro City Council passed the noise ordinance last year.
The ordinance bans noise from businesses above 75 decibels from 11p.m. to 7 a.m.
The noise is measured at a distance 30 feet away. The ordinance says the city has the right to regulate noise that annoys, disturbs or frightens people.
To read the ordinance, click here.
WFMY News 2