Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Council Votes to Protect Citizens from Noise

A majority on the D.C. City Council was looking out for the Little Guy today. The "Noise Control Protection Amendment Act of 2008 (Bill 17-177) passed its initial test on the D.C. Council, 8-5.

After more than an hour of heated debate, a compromise offered by At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown was adopted that put an 80 decibel cap on downtown amplified speech in addition to a 70 decibel cap on residential amplified speech, measured at the property line. Also included was a provision to allow amplified speech to exceed ambient noise by 10 decibels.

Voting for the bill (my infant daughter is just now smiling in her sleep...I'm not kidding): Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Tommy Wells, Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry, Kwame Brown, Carol Schwartz, David Catania, and Chairman Vincent Gray.

Voting against: Councilmembers Jim Graham, Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser, Henry Thomas, Phil Mendelson.

In a touch of added drama, a Jack Evans' amendment--which would have effectively gutted the bill--was narrowly defeated, 7-6. His change would have allowed anyone to push their amplified speech into homes at 80 decibels as measured INSIDE one's home. That's a freight train in your bedroom, folks!

The second reading still looms next month, so this still isn't over, but this is a big step.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Stay the course!

Your persistance is an example to others.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voice of the Hill said labor unions' arguments against the noise bill were "poppycock!"


9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Councilmember David Catania I think made the best point. That many protests are incredibly disruptive to, and stressful for, innocent bystanders--including schoolchildren:

“There are reasonable restrictions placed on our First Amendment when they not only imperil, but impale the rights of others."

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labor unions once sued the city to make noise?

Can residents sue the city for quiet? Especially if the noise is an environmental hazard loud enough to physically harm your hearing?

9:38 AM  
Blogger Tom A. said...


Oh wait... on second though- don't!

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I would give you a shout-out, but the previous poster stole my thunder. Harumph.

But seriously, great job and thank you and to the coulcilmembers who voted in your favor. And those that didn't (especially Evans), we'll be looking for future acknowledgement that you are a friend of the average resident of this city.

Thanks again,

Ward 4 In Da (Quiet) House

9:09 AM  

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