Mérida residents and businesses return to battle lines over noise

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Homeowners and nightclubs return to war in Mérida. Above, a Santa Lucia nightclub in 2019. Photo: Facebook

As the city comes back to post-lockdown life, noise complaints have returned.

Mérida officials have sanctioned 15 restaurants and bars and 10 other businesses since January for ignoring warnings about excessive noise, said Federico Sauri Molina, head of the department of urban development.

Businesses can be forced to close between two and three weeks for noise violations.

The “I measure my noise” monitoring project developed by the Autonomous University of Yucatán and the Technological Institute of Mérida has been reactivated as well.

The city will train employees on managing software that records decibel levels at 25 strategic sites, said Sauri Molina.

This project, begun in 2019 when residents’ noise complaints against nightclubs had reached a peak, was suspended during the pandemic lockdown. The first set of data, in the form of time-stamped heat maps, is expected in “a couple of months,” and from there, the mayor can be guided on policy, he said.

City officials have struggled to nurture a growing economy that welcomes young people in the city against the needs of residents whose next-door neighbor can be transformed overnight from a peaceful private home to raucous nightclub.

A citizen campaign by residents deprived of sleep was dismissed by critics who characterized the complainers as entitled gringos who should accept nightclubs as part of life in the Centro. But most who turned out to meetings were local parents or elderly nationals whose neighborhood had been largely residential until recent years.

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