Toledo Talk

Toledo's definition of a vibrant downtown means silence

How do the Mud Hens get away with shooting off fireworks during weekend home games? Why are they building a new arena on the west side of the river downtown? What about the additional noise created by people attending 100 to 120 arena events per year where some of these people will patronize bars and restaurants in the Warehouse District or elsewhere downtown?

Oct 24, 2007 Toledo Free Press story titled Mayor subpoenaed in noise ordinance case :

The case, which involves eight misdemeanor counts against five individuals who worked at The Durty Bird, 2 S. St. Clair St., is scheduled to go to trial this afternoon in Toledo Municipal Court.

Stephen Hartman, who is representing the defendants in the case — Brandon Cohen, Edward Knight, James Knight, Michael Knight and Paul Rechtenwald — said he believes the noise ordinance citations came at the urging of Finkbeiner after a Warehouse District resident complained to the mayor about noise levels at the bar. Hartman said Toledo police officers, on more than one instance, told his clients Finkbeiner directed them to issue citations to the bar, which eventually closed in mid-September.

Hartman said Toledo's noise ordinance is too discretionary and should not be as strictly enforced in an entertainment district.

Who doesn't laugh at this? Complaints about noise from a downtown bar located in the entertainment district. Go downtown tonight, Wed, Oct 24, 2007 and see how active, vibrant, bustling, and noisy downtown Toledo is. You probably would find more activity tonight in downtown Perrysburg or Maumee.

But this doesn't surprise me. This is Toledo, after all.

January 25, 2005 Toledo Talk thread titled Toledo Entertainment District, which pointed to a Blade story of the same date :

A proposal to create an entertainment district in the warehouse district with 15 new liquor permits is causing alarm in the budding residential community there. Some say the district would create too rowdy an atmosphere. A proposal expected to get a first reading tonight from Toledo City Council would establish an 80-acre community entertainment district covering Fifth Third Field, much of the Warehouse District, and the entire Owens Corning world headquarters property.

"That's too many liquor permits in the Warehouse District. We need to spread that out," said Kathleen Steingraber, executive director of the Toledo Warehouse District Association.

Robert Seyfang, a resident and co-developer of the Bakery Building at 33 South Michigan St., said the neighborhood should have been consulted before the plan was introduced. "Most entertainment districts are a couple of blocks long, and they're solid bars and nightclubs. I don't think we need an entertainment district. We need retail," he said. "The administration and City Council ought to respect the people who've invested in this neighborhood."

He said Warehouse District residents got an earful last summer from the late-night loud music emanating from the Emporium, 25 South Huron St., and the Durty Bird, 2 South St. Clair St. Increase that number to 15, "and it wouldn't be fun down here at night."

Martin Leahy, a business owner in the Uptown district, said he and Ms. Steingraber have discussed a proposal that includes Uptown as an entertainment district. Uptown is the area north of the central business district centering on Adams Street. He said the city should be planning a strategy for the greater downtown, rather than letting each downtown neighborhood fend for itself.

Michelle Green, one of the developers of River West Townhomes in the Warehouse District, said the Warehouse District should have "a nice mix" of nightlife, art venues, and residences. She said the nightclubs should be oriented more toward the central business district and Uptown. "The boundaries should be better dispersed to create a cohesive walking area through the downtown," said Ms. Green.

February 10, 2005 Toledo Blade story with an update about the proposed entertainment district :

A proposed "community entertainment district" that would allow up to 15 new liquor permits in the Warehouse District passed a Toledo City Council committee yesterday 7-0, and heads to the full council for a vote Feb. 22.

Speakers at yesterday's hearing warned that the residential component of the Warehouse District could be threatened by new noise-generating bars. They complained that the district was drawn up in secrecy and never shared with the Toledo Warehouse District Association.

Robert Seyfang, a developer and resident of the Warehouse District since 1989, said two bars on South Huron and South St. Clair streets compete to have the loudest music on their patios in the summer. He and others said they complained repeatedly last summer, but with little enforcement of the city noise ordinances by Toledo police. Tom Kroma, commissioner of code enforcement, promised a stepped-up enforcement effort.

But police Chief Michael Navarre said after the hearing that he worked a week on the late-night shift last summer [2004] to find out for himself if the bars were too loud. He said he did not believe the noise levels violated city law.

While sympathetic, council members said more entertainment, in the form of bars and restaurants, is part of the recipe for a strong downtown. "There's a certain level of noise and people congregating that we all want downtown," said District 5 Councilman Ellen Grachek.

At-large Councilman Frank Szollosi said: "That's the whole reason Fifth Third Field was put there." Michelle Green, developer of River West Townhomes on South St. Clair, replied: "With all due respect, Frank, you don't live here." Ms. Green said she complained about the bar noise at least 25 times last summer.

Again, from the Oct 24, 2007 TFP story : "... a Warehouse District resident complained to the mayor ..."

I wonder if the complainer is someone mentioned in those old Blade stories above? A change of mayor from Ford to Czarty, and now a crackdown on the noise levels.

Fine. Let these "noisy" downtown Toledo businesses survive only on the business from downtown residents. The rest of us will patronize bars, restaurants, and cafes away from downtown Toledo. I'll be downtown Toledo tomorrow night to see a play. But instead of eating dinner in downtown Toledo as originally planned, I'll make sure we dine somewhere else like in a different town. I want to be positive that we don't disturb those downtown residents who go to bed at 7:00 p.m.

Warehouse District Boundary

I'm not sure what defines the 'Warehouse District' but this map may be close. But is the defined area too big, too small, or misshapen?

created by jr on Oct 24, 2007 at 07:31:16 pm
updated by jr on Oct 27, 2007 at 11:58:48 am
    Comments: 25

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Comments ... #

If I'm moving downtown, I'm not moving there for the peace and quiet. I'm going there because I want to be in the (future) heart of the action. To see the fireworks display every weekend from Fifth Third Field. To be able to go to a bar or club and be a drunken stupor away from home.

Michelle Green, one of the developers of River West Townhomes in the Warehouse District, said the Warehouse District should have "a nice mix" of nightlife, art venues, and residences.

Here's the problem: define "a nice mix". My definition is different from yours.

posted by TheTalentedMrC on Oct 24, 2007 at 07:46:30 pm     #  

How can you have an entertainment district without noise?

Haven't any of these people been to the Warehouse District in Cleveland? (Or for that matter, similar districts in other cities?)

The whole reason I would move to a neighborhood like that would be to be near all the hustle and bustle - go out to the bars and nightclubs, etc.

People who go to entertainment districts spend good money. That money is good for the city.

Why move to an area like the Warehouse District if you have an aversion to noise? Seems silly. And you can't use the argument that these people have been living there for decades and are now being forced out...these residences haven't been available in those areas for very long.

posted by mom2 on Oct 24, 2007 at 08:26:58 pm     #  

Toledo's schizo culture strikes again.

posted by GuestZero on Oct 25, 2007 at 12:05:48 am     #  

Here's an idea...
“Move the deaf people next to the Warehouse District.”

posted by KraZyKat on Oct 25, 2007 at 01:15:51 am     #  

Bose makes kick ass noise canceling headphones, so does skullcandy. $50-$100 for nothing but Tesh, Jahn that is.

Or maybe they should be a little more tolerant when you're living next to a place where people go for date rape drugs like cuervo and budweiser
and to let celebrate darkness.

posted by charlatan on Oct 25, 2007 at 01:17:20 am     #  

The Toledo Deaf Club is located at 1809 Adams St.

posted by jr on Oct 25, 2007 at 01:19:40 pm     #  

That area of Adams St is called Uptown, which is or wants to be an entertainment district.

posted by jr on Oct 25, 2007 at 01:23:43 pm     #  

Uptown is an arts/entertainment district.

posted by jhostetler on Oct 25, 2007 at 01:34:32 pm     #  

I've lived downtown. I've also lived in NYC, San Francisco and South Beach/Miami.

Those townhomes are far enough from the Durty Bird that the noise levels shouldn't be too bad... somebody needs to learn to deal with it.

Vibrant = noise.

posted by jhostetler on Oct 25, 2007 at 01:37:30 pm     #  

Maybe the noise complaints about the Durty Bird were coming from fans at the Mud Hens games.

From the 2005 Blade stories :

Robert Seyfang, a resident and co-developer of the Bakery Building at 33 South Michigan St ...

Robert Seyfang, a developer and resident of the Warehouse District since 1989, said two bars on South Huron and South St. Clair streets compete to have the loudest music on their patios in the summer. He and others said they complained repeatedly last summer [2004] ...

Seyfang must be the go-to guy for noise complaints because if he lives in the Bakery Building, he's not close to the Durty Bird, which was located at 2 S. St. Clair St.

At 1 S. St. Clair St. is a building with some small businesses on the first floor or two, and a private residence occupying the top floor or two. I toured this private residence during a Warehouse District open house a couple years ago. Damn nice what the owners did to that building. A really cool place to live. I believe the Bakery Building was also on that tour. I saw the inside of a lot of neat buildings that day. I think these photos were taken from the rooftop of the private residence at 1 S. St. Clair St.

Great building with great views, nice location, but maybe not a nice location if you don't like noise from entertainment and people having fun.

Some of those other buildings along St. Clair have a business on the first floor and a private residence above.

I don't know why a person would move into the Warehouse District if noise was an issue. I'm thinking the complaints are coming more from those pioneers who have invested in the Warehouse District over the years by renovating or developing buildings or opening a business. They've dropped the coin into the Warehouse District, so I guess they're entitled to complain about noise and have pull on what's permitted.

posted by jr on Oct 25, 2007 at 02:31:41 pm     #  

I used to live downtown for the everntful nightlife and what not.....i wouldn't have considered moving downtown for peace and quiet? I mean who would?

posted by stooks on Oct 25, 2007 at 02:43:18 pm     #  

I currently live in the Warehouse District. Anyone who has been in or around the Emporium and the Durty Bird would agree that it attracts a crowd of 18-early 20 year olds that believe having a good time means screaming, yelling and vomiting outside at 2 o'clock in the morning.
Like most of the people who live downtown, I am a professional who works 8-5 Monday through Friday. I have lived in the downtown area of a much larger city, and am therefore rather tolerant of a certain level of entertainment noise. But the noise coming from these establishments this summer was unacceptable, by any reasonable person's standards.
It seems that people these days have no idea of what the term "use common sense" means. If you are going to have a bar, keep your patrons IN the bar and keep the doors closed. If I wanted to hear the noise, I would be in the bar myself, thank you.

posted by Newbie on Oct 25, 2007 at 08:20:51 pm     #  

PS: I support downtown businesses enthusiasically. However, all I can say about the Durty Bird's closing is, "Good riddance to bad rubbish." I would much rather see a real restaurant or retail store open there.

posted by Newbie on Oct 25, 2007 at 08:26:06 pm     #  

But newbie...they can't smoke indoors anymore...(sarcasm off)

posted by MaggieThurber on Oct 25, 2007 at 08:30:59 pm     #  

Ugh. Don't get me started on that one...I can't win. The guy who complained about not being able to smoke indoors is, oh never mind...

posted by Newbie on Oct 25, 2007 at 08:36:17 pm     #  

Do you need a grocery store in the Warehouse District? The Market on St. Clair closed about 18 months ago or so. When you want a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter, do you have to drive somewhere to get those items? I would think a small grocery store would be an important ingredient for creating a walkable urban neighborhood.

posted by jr on Oct 25, 2007 at 08:41:00 pm     #  

Most definitely! That would be a great start to attracting more people to live here. I'd love to see a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods in the Erie St. Market. I've already sent a letter to Traders asking (ie pleading) for them to consider downtown Toledo.

posted by Newbie on Oct 25, 2007 at 08:45:52 pm     #  

Whole Foods won't come to Toledo nor to the suburbs. I think they made that clear when the Westgate owner was attempting to attract Whole Foods. Besides, do you want chain stores downtown? At least Beaner's is a regional chain that's been around for many years. But would you prefer Starbucks replace the Downtown Latte? (BTW Re-Urbanism meeting at Downtown Latte, Thu, Oct 25 at 5:30 p.m.)

What about something local like The Andersons? They opened a food market in Sylvania this summer. Maybe they could open a smaller version of one downtown?

The Andersons Market will provide meats, wines and wellness products in a setting kind of like a farmer's market. Tasting stations will be throughout the store's nine specialty areas, providing customers with opportunities to sample foods before they buy.

Other possibilities: Churchill's, Sautters, Bassett's, Monette's.

I wonder if any of these businesses have investigated opening a small to mid-sized market downtown? One is needed in the Warehouse District and probably one in Uptown. I don't know if the Uptown area has a market. I think a market opened a year or two ago in the business area, right?

posted by jr on Oct 25, 2007 at 09:05:11 pm     #  

Or a Warehouse District version of Claudia's Natural Food Market or Sofo's Italian Market. Seems like plenty of local area grocery store owners exist around here like Kazmaiers in Perrysburg that might be enticed to open downtown. But maybe they have all looked into the idea and said to hell with that.

posted by jr on Oct 25, 2007 at 09:17:50 pm     #  

I definitely agree. Having an Anderson's Market would be a perfect fit. I have heard rumors that some developer is looking to put a grocery in a building near the library, but have not seen any substantiating evidence.

For the record, I will never set foot in any "fivebucks" again. Beaners and Downtown Latte are far far superior.

posted by Newbie on Oct 25, 2007 at 09:21:19 pm     #  

The hypocrisy of my City Government baffles me. Try living near the University and it's bars if you want noise and nuisance. The issue is not the bars, it is the outside smoking patios. Until the smoking ban was enforced we had little problem with these little den's from hell... but now... Forgedaboudit! I just can't believe that the City would take action against a bar in the Entertainment District and leave the low income, old timers of my neighborhood to hang out to dry!

Just try and get action when 50 drunken college boys are chanting "Show me your tits!" to Sorority Sue at 2 in the morning. There is no response! Somehow when it comes to patios "inside" of a residential neighborhood the noise ordinance is a gray area! I think that "low income" pretty much sums it up. If we were affluent we would have some peace and quiet and it would be the College Bars taking Carty to Court instead. If you are wondering why I chose to move here the answer is very simple. I was born here and until about 5 years ago it was a different place to live. Now, unfortunately, it seems as I am stuck here to deal with children experiencing their first tastes of alcohol, smoking cigarettes and screaming on the patio.

posted by JakeMaxwell on Oct 25, 2007 at 10:15:20 pm     #  

I love the Anderson's Market. I'd probably shop there occasionally even if it weren't the closest grocery store to my home (only slightly closer than the Kroger across the

They carry a variety of specialty items, have a great produce section, and a House of Meats counter there too.

Definitely the kind of market that would blend well into an urban contemporary neighborhood.

(Just wanted to chime in on that, since the Market was brought up in the thread.)

posted by mom2 on Oct 25, 2007 at 11:10:05 pm     #  

This is a little south of the Warehouse District but there is the San Marco Super Marketo, 235 Broadway (just north of Clayton-the street that leads to the "hi level" bridge). ph: 419-244-2373. I've passed it when I've walked to downtown. Don't know how late it is open; might not be comfortable walking to at night.

posted by oldsendbrdy on Oct 26, 2007 at 12:54:48 am     #  

DT Toledo does need a small grocer. That was my biggest complaint when living down there years ago.

I completely agree with those who find the noise complaints irritating. Sure, the club owners need to be respectful to their neighbors, but c'mon. It's not even worth arguing about.

posted by nick44 on Oct 26, 2007 at 12:28:44 pm     #  

Almost a year after this posting and almost four years after first hearing complaints about too much noise in downtown Toledo, Toledo City Council will vote soon on a new noise ordinance that is probably meant to quiet downtown Toledo on those rare occasions when downtown Toledo is actually vibrant. The powerpricks of Toledo are trying to create a new Dead Zone. Or enhance it.

Sep 24, 2008 Thurber's Thoughts blog posting titled Not 'business friendly' post #14 - noise restrictions

Having noise in downtown Toledo should be a welcomed occurrence.

Toledo doesn't have the manpower to enforce a new noise ordinance. I'm guessing this new ordinance will have selective enforcement. I'm guessing that a few businesses have already been targeted. On the hit list: a few downtown joints and maybe a few businesses run by those who have been outspoken against city government over years. Maybe this is a retaliation ordinance by city government.

posted by jr on Sep 30, 2008 at 02:01:12 am     #