The group, which is called the D.C. Nightlife Hospitality Association and includes 11 representatives from more than two dozen local bars, clubs and restaurants, vows to get loud against the proposed “anti-noise” bill first introduced by Orange earlier this year.
If passed in its current form, Orange’s bill would prohibit D.C.’s restaurants and bars from playing amplified or recorded music in outdoor spaces such as summer gardens and rooftop decks after midnight. The bill would also enact a new “plainly audible” standard for noise measurement that could change the way noise complaints from nearby residents are investigated.
Some residents — particularly those in the D.C. Nightlife Noise Coalition — say the proposed legislation is needed to curb nighttime noise disturbances from local bars and restaurants.
But according to the new association, the bill would set a “standard with which few businesses will be able to comply.” The association’s executive director, Washington Blade columnist Mark Lee, said today in a press release that Orange’s bill is like using a “gigantic oversized flyswatter” to swat a “tiny fly.”
Several members of the association testified before the D.C. Council’s committee on business, consumer and regulatory affairs this afternoon.
“I believe this legislation would take us backwards from the progress our business has spearheaded,” said Matt Weiss, owner of 201 Bar, Union Pub, Barrel, and McClellan’s Retreat. “People understand they live in a city, and being close proximity to open nightlife businesses is part of the deal.”
Will Eastman, co-owner of U Street Music Hall, said, “the overwhelming majority of D.C. residents support local nightlife establishments.”
“The proposed noise bill legislation risks putting our culture and nightlife back a step,” Eastman added. “While there may be a small number of noise problems in the city, the proposed rules are not the best approach.”
“In short, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” concluded Eastman.
Photo via D.C. Council webstream
Last night, Commissioners for ANC 1A, which also covers Park View, voted 8 to 0, with one abstention, in opposition to the Nightlife Regulation Amendment Act of 2015.
Sponsored by D.C. Councilman Vincent Orange (pictured), the law would force D.C.’s restaurants and bars serving alcohol to measure the noise levels of their establishment each hour from 9:00 pm to 4 a.m. every night they are open, and then report that information to the city.
“This law doesn’t make any sense at all, and would involve mountains and mountains of data. I don’t think it’s possible to go through it all,” said ANC commissioner Matthew Goldschmidt. “I hope [Ward 1 Councilmember] Brianne Nadeau agrees, and I hope this bill dies a very quick death.”
“This law would be like putting the foxes in charge of the henhouse,” said Commission Chair Kent Boese, explaining that the legislation would place an undue burden on smaller businesses that might not have the resources to monitor their noise levels. Boese, who sponsored the resolution, said that larger businesses could then simply misreport their data.
Columbia Heights is home to several locally owned restaurants and bars, such as the small businesses on 11th Street NW and 14th Street NW north of the Target.
A public hearing on the bill has been scheduled for July 9 at 10 a.m. at Room 500 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.