Photo by PoPville flickr user Barbara.K
The following was written by David McAuley, founder of Short Articles about Long Meetings. David will be starting a regular column for PoPville. And this is very good news!!
Report of last night’s Dupont Circle ANC Meeting
Private lawyers are drafting legislation to limit noise from street musicians, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle was told at its regular monthly meeting last night (October 11).
A pair of lawyers told the ANC they intend to return and ask for support of a resolution favoring new legislation creating a “reasonable and enforceable standard” for the volume at which “buskers” (street musicians) can play. No resolution was proposed at last night’s ANC meeting. The lawyers said they had been “retained by commercial interests” to work on this legislation, which they intend to eventually send to the DC City Council for approval.
The lawyers briefed the ANC about the current state of anti-noise enforcement in the District. Currently, buskers are not allowed to exceed 80 decibels. However, there is only one DC government employee who is qualified to use an official decibel reader. This employee works in DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. When the police receive a noise complaint, they cannot act without summoning this employee and his official decibel reader to this site. Many musicians know this and therefore feel they can defy police requests to reduce their volume.
“Today the busker says you can’t make me,” lawyer Joseph Donovan said.
ANC Commissioner Nick Delledonne (District 04) asked for a clarification of what a reasonable standard meant.
“Who could stand against the word ‘reasonable’?” Delledonne asked.
Donovan answered with an example. A reasonable and enforceable standard might be that the buskers cannot be heard, for example, 50 feet away. Musicians would be required to get a permit, Donovan said. After first few times a musician was cited for noise violations, they would lose their license.
The lawyers said that a resolution in favor of the proposal had already been passed by ANC 2C/Penn Quarter and is under consideration by a third ANC.”