The residents of the Southside neighborhood have started to file noise complaints since the semester started. The complaints have mostly been directed at The Mayor, a bar and grill located on South San Francisco Street within the downtown neighborhood.
The building is owned by Dave Carpenter while the bar itself is owned by Plated Projects, a group of restaurants co-owned by four friends which includes other restaurants in Flagstaff including Oakmont.
Southside resident Ramon Soto has lived in the neighborhood for almost 80 years, observing its evolution through the decades.
According to Soto, Sept. 13 was when the noise became a nuisance for the Southside residents. The police were called and ordered The Mayor to turn down their music.
When the police called Soto back, they informed him that he was not the only one calling and complaining about loud music from The Mayor.
“I have my two nieces living here, and the music keeps them up at night,” said Soto. “You can hear it in the house even [when] the doors and windows [are] shut.”
In addition to the volume of the music, Soto described the content as vulgar and violent. He also said the problem has been prevalent during the week, not only on Fridays.
“The noise on Thursday nights is by far the worse we have had this year,” Soto said.
He claimed the music can be heard all the way up on Cherry Hill, about eight blocks north of The Mayor. He also added that it was not just The Mayor that had live bands and loud music blasting.
Residents say ther downtown bars also play loud, inappropriate music on weekday nights when his nieces have school. They have trouble falling asleep due to the loud music that can be heard inside the house.
Soto also claimed all of the other neighbors were angry about the music as well.
“To me, it’s everybody that has a complaint about the music,” Soto said.
Soto stated the biggest issue is that most of these parties that are happening in the Southside area do not possess any permits normally required for large public gatherings.
Lorenzo Ford, a manager at The Mayor, explained they do have speakers outside of their building, however, they get conflicting complaints from their customers saying that the music isn’t loud enough.
While the residents can hear it all too well, employees at The Mayor try to find a “happy medium” for customers to be able to enjoy the music while not disturbing the surrounding neighborhood..
Ford also added he is not usually working when they receive these complaints from customers asking them to raise the music volume.
“Customers will pay for songs on the juke box and will complain to us if they can’t hear the song they selected,” said Ford.
He acknowledged that there was a police presence on Sept. 13 in response to excessively loud music after many different residents complained about it.
Ford said that the staff have been trying to keep the volume of the music down, allowing it to be played within the commercially zoned area and not disturb the residential area anymore.
Deb Harris, president of the Southside Community Association, said this has been an ongoing issue that has been brought up to their attention during their board meetings at the Murdoch Community Center every third Thursday of every month.
Harris has been the board president for almost six years and has known the Soto family for 15 years.
Whenever an issue like this or any other complaint is brought to their monthly meetings, she encourages them to share their concerns and issues during the public comment section at City Council meetings and work sessions.
“People have to find their voice and speak out,” said Harris.
Harris was joined recently at the Sept. 25 City Council meeting where she was joined by Southside resident Renee Valenzuela, who also complained about excessive noise from The Mayor and even played a recording of the music at The Mayor.
“This is three blocks away from my house at The Mayor with my doors and windows closed,” said Valenzuela at the Sept. 25 meeting.
Ramon Soto explained he understood that The Mayor is a business, and he does not want to damage the well being of businesses or stop students from NAU from having parties and having the college experience.
In his opinion, he believes everyone needs to be more considerate.
With Tequila Sunrise approaching, he stated that the true test of whether The Mayor will comply with noise complaints is coming. He hoped they will keep the music to within reasonable levels within the commercial zone.