DC Nightlife Noise

Spotlight on Officials

Action at last. Feb 20. Mayor Gray's office told the Palladium residents that No one should be forced to listen to sustained noise in excess of what the law allows. An e-mail said that
The Noise Task Force will be restarting its enforcement efforts in the next several weeks and your neighborhood will be one of the primary areas targeted to check whether licensed establishments are complying with the District’s noise laws. Prior to the beginning of the Noise Task Force’s enforcement efforts, licensed alcohol establishments will be receiving a letter from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration advising them of (1) the District’s noise provisions that they are required to follow and (2) that the multi-agency Noise Task Force will be checking licensed establishments for compliance.
We thank the mayor for hearing our demand for enforcement and we ask if the other candidates will equally commit to enforcement of DC laws.
On February 19, a panel of  residents of the Palladium provided public testimony at the annual Performance and Budget Oversight hearing held by the DC Council on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.  We expressed concern to the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs chaired by Vincent Orange that ABRA, DCRA and MPD are not enforcing the DC Noise Control Act.  Later during agency testimony in response to Chairman Orange's questioning, ABRA Director Moosally admitted the law does limit amplified sound levels to 60 decibels or below.  He also admitted that the Noise Task Force has not visited the Club Central Area despite our complaints and has not issued citations for violations.
At the urging of Orange, Director Moosally made the following commitments at the hearing:  (1) a letter will be sent to all licensees citywide explaining the law, including the 60 decibel limit; (2) ABRA, in cooperation with other agencies, will enforce this law, and (3) Moosally with keep the DC Nightlife Noise Coalition and the Oversight Committee informed on progress.

The DC Nightlife Noise Coalition is pleased with this result.  Sarah Peck met with Moosally after the hearing and offered to serve as a resource to ensure effective enforcement. Committee Chair Orange said he would visit Club Central early one Saturday morning for a first hand view, and said he hoped he would not see the conditions described by Melissa Stanley.

On Feb 3, 2014  we met for two hours with Fred Moosally, Director of ABRA to deliver a letter that demands immediate enforcementof the DC Noise Laws and ABRA noise rules in the Club Central area. Participating were: From ABRA were: A press release to be published by the Nightlife Noise Coalition reports that Participants left the ABRA meeting heartened by Moosally’s promise of action including interagency cooperaton on enforcement.  Additionally, Moosally recognized the reality that a rising city population is demanding new housing in the city center, a demand that will also increase the number of residents demanding peace, order, and quiet from alcohol establishments.

On Jan 7, 2014 we met with 2d District Police Commander Michael Reese and Asst DC Attorney General Rashee Kumar. We thank them for meeting with us. We reminded Commander Reese that the law expressly authorizes MPD officers to go straight to the source of the sound to investigate. Police are authorized to order sound to be lowered, or to issue warnings or citations if, in their judgment, a club is producing noise that exceeds the maximum limit or that constitutes a noise disturbance. A few days later Commander Reese called to say that noise was not a police matter, but was in the realm of DCRA and ABRA.