By Katherine Simpson & Rick von Geldern
Express staff writers
Members of the Winters City Council and Yolo County officials heard public comment on noise complaints regarding Green River Brewing & Taproom at an informational 2×2 meeting on Oct. 20.
This summer, hosted outdoor live music concerts and the sound traveling into town has caused some concern. Complaints have been registered with the Winters Police Department, the City Manager, Yolo and Solano counties. The joint body heard concerns over the Green River’s frequent violations of decibel levels dictated by the local government.
Green River sits across Putah Creek in Solano County. Winters Police Chief John P. Miller told the Express that residents have called to complain, but it is out of his jurisdiction unless the noise meets the threshold of Penal Code 415(2) and “maliciously and willfully disturbs peace.”
Tara Thronson, Deputy to Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor, said their office has received noise complaints from constituents. Complaints of violations included music going beyond 10 p.m., the noise decibel limit exceeding the Solano County limit of 65 decibels, exceeding the number of concerts permitted under their use permit and holding events outside of their permitted months. Thronson said the complaints were forwarded to Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez and that staff has been in touch with the owner John Neil.
Both Saylor and Trepa said they have individually met with Neil, walked around Winters during a live music event and made note of the noise level. Trepa said Neil confirmed they are working to limit the level of music traveling into Winters.
Green River’s General Manager, Patrick Colon, told the Express they are aware of the community concerns and have incorporated mitigation measures to minimize sound bleeding into Winters. He said they are working with band sound engineers to control the direction of the sound and that they use a decibel meter to monitor the level of sound being emitted.
According to Trepa, Neil is also considering reorienting the venue’s stage so “the noise is pointed away from the creek and away from the City of Winters,” but will not undertake the $20,000 project until he’s sure that it would fix the noise problem.
Bands are scheduled through the rest of October, but as the weather changes, Colon said they would be moving toward presenting acoustic music inside their tent. In the meantime, Colon said they have been clear to bands to project their sound toward the crowd, not Winters.
Several members of the public attending the meeting expressed their concerns about the music exceeding acceptable decibel levels. Winters Mayor Wade Cowan said, “I used to be able to hear (Green River) in my…house that I built that was well insulated and had good windows.”
Trepa and Thronson will work together to prepare a joint letter and send it their Solano counterparts with the expectation that Green River will voluntarily comply and resolve the noise issue.