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Gettysburg Will Revise Special Events Permitting in Response to Noise Concerns

Responding to concerns raised by Gettysburg resident Eve English who resides at 3 Baltimore St. near the Gettysburg Square, the Gettysburg Borough Council will reassess its special permitting process, particularly in regard to exceptions to the noise ordinance.

 “I don’t have a problem with live music. I have problem with live music that is amplified higher than what the noise ordinance allows,” said English.

The issue concerns outdoor musical events held at the nearby Ploughman Cider Taproom, located at 14 Lincoln Square.

“What Breaks Loose” Performing at the Ploughman Taproom in 2019

The Taproom received a special events permit in 2020 that allowed it to hold dozens of outside musical events during the pandemic.  

Ben Wenk who runs the Taproom said the venue began as a popup and that he had now signed a lease for the space.

“The entertainment and arts industry has been one of the industries most affected by the pandemic,” said Wenk. “Our company alone spent $15,000 paying musicians last year in the middle of the pandemic operating outdoor socially distant and responsible. That gives me a great bit of pride.”

“When we were asked to turn down the music we turned down the music. We tried to set our amplification levels at such a level that guests who were attending our events could hear it over any passing vehicles. We are a taproom that supports our musician community. These events are providing to the public in a unique way,” Wenk said.

Police Chief Robert Glenny said in addition to borough policies the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) also had relevant regulations that needed to be adhered to. “We need to be sure the borough is not issuing something that is not in line with what the [liquor control board] regulations are,” said Glenny.  “We need to recraft our ordinances. We have a lot of variables there.”

The borough said it was difficult to assess noise levels accurately, particularly in the square where sound echoes off of buildings and where the noise from truck traffic can be loud.

“We have sit back and look at what we want to allow,” said Director of Planning, Zoning, and Code Enforcement Carly Marshall.

Wenk proposed having regular amplified music on Friday and Saturday evenings and non-amplified acoustic music on two weekdays.

Council member Matt Moon noted the Gettysburg Majestic Theater faced similar problems. “It is a commercial district but it’s also a residential district,” he said. 

Council will revisit the issue next month.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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  • The mainstay of the square is to attract tourist and increase revenue for local business and the municipality. If the mouse is bothersome, then it is best to relocate to an area where the resident would not be disturbed.

    The reason for living in town is to be part of and enhance the small town culture.

    Gettysburg could be do much more to attract visitors. The leadership needs to be more forward thinking in its management. If we begin to stifle our artist the town will ultimately die.

  • Ben Wenk provides a much needed outlet for live music in our community and he is the kind of person who would respect the concerns of others.

  • It would be great if the residents would join the audience. It makes it so much more fun when people are there and moving to the beat. I am both a musician and an avid audience member. I really enjoy the music at GarryOwen but the dance space is nonexistent. Being able to dance to the music outside on the square is a HUGE joy for me and now that Hauser and Knob Hall are gone and there isn’t any music there anymore, I am totally starved for entertainment. Ben Wenk only brings musicians who play great, uplifting music. I enjoy the jazz Tuesdays and especially Secret Bandwagon on Sunday afternoons. The band What Breaks Loose fills me with happiness. Residents in the square would benefit from understanding that living in this kind of environment is not going to be quiet or serene. One resident should not have that much influence on the entire entertainment scene.
    Come on down and join the fun!

    • BS, this is the noisiest place I have lived. I moved here for peace and serenity in my retirement. People here feel entitled but all people should be included. Too many noise creating activities. Garryowen has only had an open air seating area for approximately a year and permitted smoking out there and I stopped going that includes Garryowen permitting Ecigs to be smoked inside. Shame on Garryowen.

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