Foxy Loxy urges city to update noise ordinance
Foxy Loxy has been engaged in a long dispute with a neighbor regarding the noise levels of their outdoor events. Now, the dispute is set to be discussed in court Oct. 10.
Foxy Loxy has been in business for only seven years. Since then, the eclectic space has hosted many events such as Miyagi Mondays, Acoustic Tuesdays, Stitch & Bitch Wednesdays, Vinyl Night every third Thursday and Fire and Wine on Saturdays. Jennifer Jenkins, owner of Foxy Loxy, came from an artistic background and wanted to showcase some things she enjoyed to share with others who enjoyed them as well.
“Everything was grown so organically. I came at this from an artist background, not from a business background, so I did not have some grand plan like you’re supposed to,” Jenkins said. Acoustic Tuesdays were started right out of the gate, but initially, they were held inside by the fireplace. Once Foxy Loxy acquired the courtyard, they were able to expand. Since then, Acoustic Tuesdays have been considered a Foxy Loxy staple.
“I wasn’t as aware of how [these events] were received by the community until this all blew up,” Jenkins said. When the Savannah community found out about Foxy Loxy’s situation, a Change.org petition began circulating. Jenkins has read through some of the reasons people have signed. “It was then that I was like, ‘okay, this is really important to the community. This is awesome to know what it means to them.’ I had no idea there were that many people out there wanting me to continue that program.”
The relationship between Foxy Loxy and the neighbor was initially cordial. Soon after though, she informed Jenkins that the noise levels from Acoustic Tuesdays and other outdoor events were unacceptable. Measures were taken to resolve the issue. The neighbor recommended that Jenkins hire a sound engineer to measure the sound levels, and Jenkins did hire a local company who has worked outdoor events before. The result from the technician was that Foxy Loxy was in compliance with the current noise ordinance.
However, different code enforcement officers of the city have reported conflicting readings. While one found that Foxy Loxy was initially in compliance, a different officer found that they were not. After much back and forth, it was decided between the two parties that it would be best if a judge decided the outcome. If the judge were to rule in favor of Foxy Loxy’s neighbor, Foxy Loxy would lose most if not all of their outdoor events that use sound systems. To date, no one from the city has come and measured sound levels.
Now, when Foxy Loxy hosts an outdoor event, they are charged with a violation and given a ticket. Currently, they have eight citations. “A complaint equals a violation,” Jenkins explained, “instead of a complaint occurring and coming to investigate or measure to determine if we’re not in compliance.” Each citation is fined up to $1,000. Per the recommendation of their lawyer, Foxy Loxy has refused to give up Acoustic Tuesdays and other events, citation or not. “When [our lawyers] looked at the case they were just like, you have good reason [to continue]. I would not stop all the history and momentum you have with these events based on what we’re seeing,” Jenkins said.
The current noise ordinance was written in 1977 and has not been updated since. The only time it is enforced is when a resident calls, or the city is informed of a noise complaint. The ordinance is frequently interpreted rather than read as a legal document. The gray area is where businesses like Foxy Loxy are left to hang in the balance.
“Obviously, I hope we can still host the events that we host. I hope that happens,” Jenkins said. “But on a larger scope, I hope for a new noise ordinance, that all of the subjective language that’s written in there is removed, and that it’s very clear how to follow it. Because there is some wiggly language in there that people can cherry pick out of it, and I hope there is a solid ordinance where there is no way to do that.”