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.
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.