Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cheh Schedules July 9 Hearing on D.C. Noise Bill

Progress. Back in November 2005, I testified about this issue before the same committee, when Councilmember Jim Graham chaired it. Thank you, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh!
Council of the District of Columbia
Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs
Notice of Public Hearing
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20004

Bill 17-177, the “Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007”

Monday, July 9, 2007
10:00 a.m.
Council Chamber
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

On Monday, July 9, 2007, Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chairperson of the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, will hold a public hearing on Bill 17-177, the “Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2007.” Bill 17-177 would define the circumstances in which noise made during non-commercial speaking can be considered a noise disturbance. The public hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the fifth-floor Council Chamber of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

The Committee invites the public to testify or to submit written testimony, which will be made a part of the official record. Anyone wishing to testify at the hearing should contact Aukima Benjamin, staff assistant to the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, at 724-4902, or via e-mail at All witnesses will be permitted a maximum of three (3) minutes for oral presentation.

If you are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted either to the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, or to Ms. Cynthia Brock-Smith, Secretary to the Council, Room 5 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. The record will close at the end of the business day on Monday, July 23, 2007.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

D.C. Noise Fact for the Day

Did you know...

"It is the declared public policy of the District of Columbia that every person is entitled to ambient noise levels that are not detrimental to life to life, health, and enjoyment of his or her property. It is hereby declared that excessive or unnecessary noises within the District are a menace to the welfare and prosperity of the residents and businesses of the District. It is the declared public policy of the District to reduce the ambient noise level in the District to promote public health, safety, welfare, and the peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the District, and to facilitate the enjoyment of the natural attraction of the District."

[Title 20; District of Columbia Municipal Regulations; CHAPTER 27 NOISE CONTROL: 2700.1]

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thunder? Gunfire? Nope...It's Steel Street Plates

The endless thundering sound heard by the H Street NE community during the last three months is the result of vehicles driving over large, rectangular steel plates, which fit loosely over ongoing construction work. Electric utility PEPCO is upgrading the infrastructure in preparation for the upcoming H Street renovation.

Welds apparently are supposed to keep the plates from moving, as seen in my March 4 posting. But PEPCO workers aren't using enough welds, most of which seem to break under several days of traffic pounding.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A addressed the issue at its May 10th meeting, and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells' urges rattled residents to ring this PEPCO representative:

Ms. Linda Jo Smith
PEPCO, Public Affairs Officer
Office: 202-872-2024
Cell: 202-669-8392

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Federal Court Upholds Anti-Noise Ordinance Against Street Preachers

Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle reports a federal appeals court on April 30 upheld San Francisco's enforcement of an anti-noise ordinance against street preachers, saying they had been cited for the volume of their amplified messages, not their content.

Just as the H and 8th St NE issue in Washington, D.C.--it's about the decibels, not the content. Read the entire story online here.

The Bay Area Reporter also covers the story. Read their version of the story online here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Welcome Prophet Jimmy Cates

A noise disturbance is measured by two things: Decibels and duration.

The Prophet Jimmy Cates appeared on the southwest corner of H and 8th St NE at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 29. It was the first time I'd met Cates and several others who were distributing flyers which read, "True Gospel Church of GOD will be having services at Well Water Church at 342 8th St NE in Washington." Services happen every Sunday at 3 p.m., according to the flyer.

Cates said he was more than happy for me to videotape him.

Sunday was windy, as you'll note the swirling sidewalk papers and blowing sound against the microphone. I was outside working in my front yard when I heard the faint sound of Cate's singing, which was quite good. The very cordial gentleman's amplifier was not overly loud, but was more audible when the wind blew south toward my house.

Cates was on the corner for about an hour and I did not find the decibels or duration to be bothersome from my house.