Thursday, June 15, 2006

Media Picks Up Noise; Graham Calls for Ideas

On the media front, Sunday’s Citywide Amplified Free Speech Day received news coverage from NBC-TV 4 and ABC-TV 7; Voice of the Hill newspaper; Roll Call; the Georgetown Current; a brief mention in an online chat with Washington Post’s Potomac Confidential columnist Marc Fisher; as well as the online and print editions of the Washington Post Express.

And here’s the latest installment from Voice of the Hill. Councilmember Jim Graham, chairman of the Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, hasn’t yet returned my phone call, but he tells reporter Gary Emerling “his hands are still tied regarding crafting a fix to the noise law.”

“Give me an idea,” he tells Emerling. “I feel for these people. Give me an idea that doesn’t take away others’ rights."

Several attorneys have contacted me with ideas to share with Chairman Graham. Meanwhile, you can too. If D.C. cannot emulate another municipality’s best practice, then we must get creative and reinvent the wheel.

Simply post your idea in the comments section. Then also copy and paste it into an email and send it to:
D.C. Council Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Chair Jim Graham (ph: 202-724-8181; email:
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (ph: 202-724-8058; email:
Ward 6 Councilmember Sharon Ambrose (ph: 202-724-8072; email:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Whenever a noncommerical entity wishes to use a sound amplification device with XX yards of a residential area, that entity must (a) receive written permission from XX percent of the residents on the affected block (defined as any block within XX yards of proposed device), or (b) apply to the DC XX Agency for a special exemption permit.

I order to reduce the noise burden on any particular block, Special Exemption Permits may not be granted for than XX times per calander year for any particular location. Speciual exemption permits: (i) cost $XXX; (ii) require XX weeks notice, during which time neighbors and/or the ANC are provided the opportunity to oppose the permit, and; (iii) require the permitee to submit their name, address and phone number into a public file.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think (a) works, as it's a heckler's veto. But I don't see any problem with banning amplified speech except where a permit is obtained. The permitting rules would have to be clear and precise, but they could presumably refer to specific areas (such as parks) as appropriate for amplified speech. (And of course none of this would affect federal property.) Numerous other cities have decibel (or comparable) restrictions. Why can't DC just use those?

11:55 PM  

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