Thursday, April 12, 2007

WP: City Needs to Restore ‘Balance’ on Noise Issues

In a column about friction between Adams Morgan residents and the music scene over noise, Washington Post Metro Columnist Marc Fisher [A Counteroffensive on Mt. Pleasant's 'Voluntary' Music Bans (April 12)] says, "It's time for the city to step in and restore some balance. If the District enforced noise ordinances, there'd be no reason for anyone to be banning the bands."

Currently out of balance is a 2004 loophole in the city noise statute. The legislative language was drafted without all voices at the table.

The law exempts "noncommercial amplified speech" from any decibel limits anywhere in the city from 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Councilmembers Wells, Cheh, Brown and Catania have sponsored legislation to provide balance so residents and businesses can have relief from hours of amplified noise at decibel levels equal to a rock concert.

A confusing patchwork of D.C. noise laws, regulations and enforcement actions confront city residents and businesses. The city must look at the health and safety issue of noise as defined by decibels--and not focus on content.

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