[Kreweoftruth] LAST-MINUTE WEAKENING OF NOISE ORDINANCE ATTRACTS OPPOSITION
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Mon Apr 2 14:34:04 EDT 2012
LAST-MINUTE WEAKENING OF NOISE ORDINANCE ATTRACTS OPPOSITION
ARTIST RELEASES VIDEO STATEMENT: HE’S BEEN FIGHTING FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE EXISTING NOISE ORDINANCE FOR 16 YEARS; CITY OFFICIALS TOLD HIM TO MOVE
Residents of the French Quarter, opposed to last minute weakening of the proposed noise ordinance by Councilwoman Kristin Palmer, plan to present more amendments at a committee hearing Tuesday, 10 a.m.
The City Council Sanitation and Environmental Committee meets on Tuesday, April 3, 10 a.m. in the Council chambers, which is when residents plan to discuss newly unveiled changes to a Palmer-authored ordinance regulating the placement of speakers in establishments located in French Quarter residential, commercial, and entertainment districts.
“Residents, such as the members of French Quarter Citizens, a community advocacy organization, were deeply disappointed that these last-minute changes weaken the scope of the ordinance, and fail to acknowledge or reflect our suggestions,” said Brian Furness, a resident and FQC Board member.
To underscore their point, a new video by Resident Artist Peter Yokum was released today by HearTheNOLAMusic.com. Mr. Yokum said noise issues began to get out of control in the late 1990s.
“There was a invasion, daily, nightly, 360 days a year,” said Mr. Yokum, pinpointing illegal, amplified music venues near his home. “It was the advent of the sub-woofer,” he said, adding that most of the noise-making activities are already proscribed by the existing noise ordinance. He said city officials told him the solution was for him to move. Instead, Mr. Yokum has been fighting for enforcement of the noise ordinance for 16 years.
Resident groups seek to bring the suggestions summarized below to the committee meeting tomorrow. The ordinance is up for a vote Thursday.
The most troubling change is the intent to delete any coverage of courtyard speakers.
It is not clear that the speaker orientation rules in Sec. 66-209(c)(1) also apply to ABOs and non-ABOs described in Sec. 66-209(c)(2) and (3).
We were much troubled by statements that establishments believing themselves aggrieved by the speaker placement conditions could avail themselves of the variance procedure (Sec. 66-177) in the present law. We oppose resort to this procedure.
Chris Young Proposal – Representing Alcoholic Beverage Outlets
“No loudspeaker shall be pointed in the direction of any public street unless it is not less than ten (10) feet away.” We will withhold final comment until we have a text but our initial reaction is sharply negative.
Privately Owned Premises
The primary purpose of limiting coverage to “privately owned premises” seems to be to exclude establishments located in Jazz Legends Park (Bourbon Street) and those operated on property subject to French Market jurisdiction. FQC is generally sympathetic to finding solutions to speaker placement problems associated with the current occupants, but we can not support efforts that would remove these establishments completely from scrutiny or speaker placement and direction control.
The revisions to the penalty provisions, particularly deletion of those providing for the suspension of operations, significantly diminish the impact and deterrent power of the ordinance. We urge that these be re-instated, at least for ABOs for which current law provides for suspensions.
Previously Raised Issues
FQC was further disappointed that the revision failed to address the issues raised in our earlier communications:
Penalties should be ultimately assessed against the commercial enterprise and the property owner, perhaps by distinguishing between individuals and entities responsible for “assuring compliance,” upon which a citation may be served, and the “commercial enterprise,” which must satisfy the penalties and be responsible for multiple violations. Further, FQC recommends that unpaid penalties become liabilities of the property and be satisfied when property taxes are paid.
Walls in historic districts are exceptionally sensitive to damage by vibration (especially low frequency vibration). We urge language precluding the permanent attachment of speakers to interior walls in historic districts.
The possible determination by the Fire Marshal that a door or window be unlocked shall not be interpreted as allowing the door or window to be open. The Fire Marshal’s written documentation should be prominently displayed and available to any person (including the public, as well as enforcement personnel).
Penalties should be either those in the present law or those in this bill “whichever is greater” and include the provision in the present law that “Each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such.”
“Residents continue to believe a speaker placement ordinance would be an important step forward. We reiterate our willingness to work with the Bourbon Business Alliance and Councilwoman Palmer on an ordinance that addresses the concerns of the residential and business communities,” said Mr. Furness.
For information, call C. Brylski (504) 897-6110 or visit www.HearTheNOLAMusic.com
the brylski company
3418 coliseum street
new orleans, louisiana 70115
cbrylski at aol.com
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