Home Event venue Mayor of Wildwood, wedding venue argue noise, fight goes public

Mayor of Wildwood, wedding venue argue noise, fight goes public

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WILDWOOD – A spat between a mayor and a wedding venue disrupts the peace found in the scenic hilly country where Wildwood meets Franklin County.

What started as a noise complaint by Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin turned into dueling public accounts of how and why the mayor confronted attendees about loud music at a wedding reception last weekend.

Bowlin said venue noise is a problem for residents — like him — who live in nearby homes across the hills. The venue says Bowlin’s complaint is unfounded and that he caused a scene during the reception’s dinner hour.

On Saturday night, Bowlin went to the scene to address concerns about loud music, which he said violated Wildwood’s noise ordinance. The mayor said he waited quietly in the hallway to tell someone about the volume of the music, likening it to a rock concert that shook the floor; Silver Oaks Castle owner Ron Tate said Bowlin yelled at and disturbed about 50 guests, and the music was at an appropriate level.

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Silver Oaks employee Alyssa Ringkamp was at the front desk as a guest and told the Post-Dispatch she was amazed at Bowlin’s aggressiveness.

“I pulled him aside and said, ‘Can I help you?’ and he just started yelling about how the music was too loud… (and) it was reverberating through the hills,” she said, noting that he showed up to the official event in shorts and a “very disheveled” looking windbreaker.

Tate wrote in an email to members of the Wildwood City Council that Bowlin stormed onto the interior balcony, which overlooks the main reception area during dinner, then touched a woman on her bare shoulder to get her attention. Tate asked council members to take action in response to the mayor’s behavior.

Bowlin, in response to the email sent to council members, denied Tate’s account. He told the Post-Dispatch that he waited in the lobby to tell someone about the music volume, and he said he had never touched a woman.

The Tate location is just under half a mile east of the county line in Franklin County. The Bowlin Subdivision is across the line in St. Louis County.

Bowlin has been mayor of Wildwood since 2016, and before being elected he publicly opposed the construction of Silver Oaks nine years ago because the neighborhood is residential. He is also chairman of the Meadow Forest Estates subdivision, one of two subdivisions near the site.

Bowlin told the Post-Dispatch he was representing residents when he complained about the noise that was “easily audible over a mile away.”

Four of Bowlin’s neighbors told a reporter they had never heard any noise coming from Silver Oaks, nor did they recall hearing anything on Saturday night.

One of the venue’s closest neighbors, a couple who have lived in their home for 42 years and asked not to be named, said they heard more noise from the two neighboring subdivisions than from the wedding venue.

“I think I had one (resident call). Maybe, I mean, I didn’t, the phone wasn’t ringing, you know, really non-stop,” Bowlin said. “But I think I may have had one (resident). There wouldn’t have been more than that.

Bowlin said he believed the hills and different elevations of the house could determine who could hear what.

The rear of the venue, which includes a patio, terrace and area for holding wedding ceremonies, faces southeast towards those hills – a design according to Tate was intentional to keep noise away from nearby residences.

Bowlin noted in his email that under Missouri law, municipalities can enforce their loud noise nuisance ordinances within a mile of their borders.

“I had two options: the option I chose, which was to tell you personally or to tell the authorities,” Bowlin wrote to Tate. “I chose the former because I thought it was a closer way to deal with the situation.”

The mayor wrote that he did not shout but had to raise his voice when talking to anyone at the scene because of the loud music.

“In any event, please note that it was not my intention to interfere with the event taking place on your site,” Bowlin wrote.

Tate also claimed that Bowlin used to harass the venue via email.

“What he did on Saturday night was completely irrelevant,” he wrote.

The mayor said he didn’t know what Tate’s past harassment referred to and thought it was the first time he’d reached out about a noise complaint, and whether he’d reached out hand, he said “that would have been long enough”.

There are several security cameras in the venue’s lobby, but Tate said the company’s attorney instructed them not to release the footage.

The Post-Dispatch has reached out to all 16 Wildwood council members to comment on Tate’s email. Fourteen did not immediately respond and two declined to comment.

Yet another of Bowlin’s neighbors had a different opinion: He said he never heard anything from Silver Oaks, but he did note noise from the recently opened Westwind Hills, a wedding venue slightly closer to their homes. , can be heard – and felt – for hours.

But when asked, Bowlin said he was absolutely sure the noise he heard was from Silver Oaks.

“We just want him to leave us alone,” Tate said.