Wednesday, September 06, 2006

H Street Merchants Urge Noise Fix

Fed up hours of amplified noise every Saturday afternoon, a group of H Street NE businesses has asked the District of Columbia City Council for relief.

On behalf of its merchant tenants and customers, Rappaport Management Company, manager of the H Street Connection, asked Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Committee Chairman Jim Graham to fix the broken District of Columbia noise law. It currently allows unlimited levels of amplified non-commercial speech anywhere in the city between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The noise disrupts residents and businesses alike.

H Street Connection is home to a number of shops in the 800-900 block of the corridor. Among them is the Sports Zone and Rite Aid, which bear the brunt of the weekly amplified tirades.

Rappaport’s complete letter:
August 31, 2006

Jim Graham
Chairman, Consumer and
Regulatory Affairs Committee
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 105
Washington, D.C. 20004

RE: H Street Connection
Washington, D.C.
Quiet Enjoyment

Dear Councilman Graham:

Rappaport Management Company is Managing Agent for H Street Connection Shopping Center. I recently took over as manager of this center; upon doing so, it was brought to my attention that various groups are setting up on the sidewalk at the corner of 8th and H St. NE. These groups are using amplifiers to project their messages and in the process, they are causing unnecessary disruption to the community. I have received numerous complaints from the tenants, patrons and neighbors regarding the excessive noise coming from the corner.

The merchants of the shopping center and the city are affected by the revenue lost due to the atmosphere created by the groups broadcasting from the city sidewalk. Community members have mentioned specifically, that they do not patronize the shopping center when the groups are broadcasting. The volume prevents both merchants and the community from enjoying a quality of life consistent with other area of the metropolitan area.

I understand that, currently, according to D.C. Law 15-214, the business owners in H Street Connection Shopping Center and the members of the neighboring community are not protected from the behavior of groups broadcasting from the sidewalk. The Noise Control Act of 1977 was amended in 2004 but, has no limitations to protect the merchants or neighbors to the center from “noncommercial public speaking during the daytime” 20 D.C.M.R.S § 2799.

We respectively request your assistance in closing this loophole which allows for amplified speech within ten feet of business and residences.

Thank you for your attention to this matter in advance. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at the phone number or email address noted above.

Sincerely,

Sarith A. Ercoline
Senior Property Manager

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