Sunday, June 03, 2007

Commission Urges Enhancements to Noise Bill

During its May meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A voted unanimously to offer the District of Columbia City Council several amendments to the pending Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007 (Bill 17-177).

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for July 9. The letter’s text is below:
May 22, 2007

Councilmember Mary Cheh
Chairperson, Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 108
Washington, DC 20004

Councilmember Mary Cheh:

We applaud the introduction of the Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007 (Bill 17-177) and welcome the opportunity to testify in support of the bill on Monday, July 9, 2007 at 10:00am in the Council Chamber located in John A. Wilson Building located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

After a review of the Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007, we noticed several issues that should be amended to ensure our residents are protected from harmful noise levels. We believe that these changes will protect the right to free speech. Accordingly, the following amendments we offer for consideration were approved unanimously at our Commission meeting on May 10, 2007:

Measured Distance. Limit loudness to a level that does not inhibit residents' quiet enjoyment of their homes. The 50 foot provision for measuring sound at 70 dB(A) is simply not enough protection. To accommodate mixed-use zoning corridors, such as H Street NE, the Act should be amended to state: "50 feet or the closest occupied building".

Maximum Sound Level. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a maximum level for outdoor activity interference and annoyance is 55 dB(A) outdoors and 45 dB(A) indoors. These are the maximum levels that still permit spoken conversation and comfort in the activities of daily living. A permitted level greater than 55 dB(A) would be actively harmful to the hearing of our residents. Why should we be required to confine our children and our family activities to the inside of our homes? We strongly urge the Act be amended stating the maximum sound level be no higher than 55 dB(A).

Tools, Training and Enforcement. The relatively few sound level meters are owned by Department of Consumer and Regulator Affairs (DCRA). Additional meters should be funded and training should be provided to DCRA inspectors and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) personnel. The Act should be amended to provide enforcement powers to both DCRA and MPD.

If you have any questions regarding these proposed amendments, please contract me by phone at (202) 423-8868 or by electronic mail at

On behalf of the Commission,

Joseph Fengler, Chair
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A

Cc: Councilmember Tommy Wells
Councilmember Kwame Brown


Blogger Barry said...

As a Adams Morgan resident of 25 years, I can attest to the noise we residents have to endure. At
first blush, I'm not particularly keen on the manner
of protest you choose to 'amplify' your position. It makes the point , yes, but the ruckus at 18th &
Belmont on Sunday, June 24, annoyed as many as it recruited, I'm sure. It's a bit like complaining about
all the goose crap on the grounds by spreading more goose crap. You could have made the same point by simply standing as a group with hands over
ears. Silent AND effective.
As for contacting Jim Graham, I'm not sure that's going to get us anywhere. He was measured in his response to my complaint about motorcycle noise
a few years ago and the noise went on and on and on. Maybe he gave it some attention, maybe he didn't. In Adams Morgan, business rules and all
the noise is viewed as part of the dynamics of
multiculteralism. Barry Moyer

5:45 AM  

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