Evanston boxing studio proposal hit with noise concerns
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:45AM
EVANSTON — A move to establish a boxing studio in the Main Street business district ran into some blows of criticism from neighbors at a city committee meeting Monday night, but it moved forward with the backing of the local alderman.
Some businesses and residents have raised concerns about the business in a district zoned for conventional retail.
Fernando Rivera is the applicant for special zoning of the boxing studio-indoor recreation facility at 732 Main St. A workout facility is regarded as a special use in the district.
The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals previously recommended in favor of Rivera receiving special zoning, tacking on conditions to approval, including one that the applicant must mitigate sound coming from the unit.
At Monday night’s Planning & Development Committee, Martha Moser asked aldermen not to approve the measure, citing her experience operating a business near another workout facility in the area, Revolution Spin, 904 Sherman.
“Exercise itself doesn’t make much noise,” Moser told committee members. “It’s the rah-rah background that’s necessary to set the mood for exercise,” she said.
“Before Revolution Spin moved next door to my business, if anyone had asked if I were concerned I would have said, ‘What nuisance can come from people pedaling a stationary bicycle? You have to have loud background noise. You have to have an instructor yelling over a microphone that is yet again amplified. Can you really think boxing doesn’t come with its own brand of noise?”
Margaret Tarr, another resident of the area, played for alderman what she said was a tape of a Revolution Spin session, to demonstrate the noise.
Alderman Don Wilson, in whose ward the boxing studio would be located, arranged for the applicant to meet with small business representatives in the area, to hear their concerns.
Wilson said he supported the proposal moving forward so long as the owner is “crystal clear,” he must keep noise down.
In front of the ZBA, Rivera noted that the facility’s studio is sound proofed. Rivera told that group as well as P&D members that the business is more of a fitness studio than a boxing ring.
Rivera, who instructs classes for children and others at the McGaw YMCA, Evanston Township High School and LA Fitness locally, said punching bags will be hung from a bar fixed to the walls instead of the ceiling so noise will not carry to the residences above.
Aldermen are scheduled to take a final vote on the issue at their next meeting, scheduled for April 1.