Summerville is a lakeshore community in the Midwest. In its heyday, the town relied heavily on the automotive industry for its tax base and jobs for its residents. As the automotive industry declined, many of the local manufacturing plants closed, leaving high rates of unemployment and a devastated tax base in its wake. Community leaders have tried to capitalize on Summerville’s location on the shore of Lake Michigan to rebuild the community around tourism. In the process, they have tried to be business friendly, offering incentives and generally trying to accommodate the needs of businesses. Recently, an increasing number of bars and restaurants have applied for a license that allows them to provide outdoor food and beverage service on decks, patios, and rooftops. City officials have been supportive of the efforts to draw more tourists to the community. Many of these establishments border residential areas and offer live entertainment several nights per week. A longtime city ordinance states that music must not be heard from more than fifty feet away between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Periodically, residents call the police to complain about the noise.
1. How would you balance the interests of the neighbors’ right to live in peace and quiet with the interests of the businesses to attract and entertain customers? 2. To what extent, if any, does the fact that the community is trying to recover economically come into play? 3. Assume that you are a city official and a resident complains to you about the noise in her neighborhood. How might you respond to the resident?