Controversy takes center stage at Christiansburg drive-in theater


CHRISTIANSBURG (WSLS 10) – A Christiansburg theater that has been open since 1953 is now at the center of controversy.

The Starlite Drive-In Theater changed its speaker set-up this past season to save money. Owners said it was costing thousands of dollars to repair and replace speakers mounted on poles near each car, so they mounted larger speakers near the projection booth.

That change caused movie sound to be too loud, according to the town’s noise ordinance and neighbors.

Theater owners said when they turned down the sound to meet regulations, customers could not hear the movie and refused to come back.

Owners estimate sales were down about $5,000 this year.

“I would like to add an amendment to the noise ordinance, and that’s what I’ve asked town council to consider,” said Starlite owner Peggy Beasley.

Town council plans to work with the theater and neighbors to find a suitable solution. There is a petition circulating online with more than 1,200 supporters to ask the town to make an exception for Starlite’s noise.

The drive-in season is over for this year and will start again in April.

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