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The Return of the DC Anti-Street Noise Bill

by Nena Perry-Brown

DC's anti-noise bill is back on the docket, and seemingly less suppressive.

The Amplified Noise Amendment Act of 2021, introduced yesterday by DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Brooke Pinto, is meant to regulate noise levels in public space. The bill's provisions prohibit amplified noise from being as loud as 90 decibels (a lawn mower is a common example of the 90-decibel level).

A version of the same bill, with a noise maximum of 100 decibels in public space, was introduced in 2018 and 2019; neither made it past a public hearing, and both were unpopular due to perceived suppression of cultural expression and penalties that included 10 days in jail.

Under the new bill, violators would receive a verbal warning from the police, and if the noise level continues, could be subject to a formal "notice of violation" and a fine of up to $300. The bill exempts "a person participating in a parade, public gathering, or demonstration" that received a permit from the Metropolitan Police Department. The bill would also extend the amplified noise limit of 80 decibels inside one's residence to all residentially-zoned areas rather than the five residential zones where it is currently applicable.

The bill is under review by the Committee of the Whole.

Thumbnail photo by Ted Eytan

See other articles related to: noise ordinance, dc council

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-return-of-the-dc-anti-street-noise-bill/17950

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