Citizen Vigilante Group Forms to Combat Noise in Dupont
The Dupont Circle neighborhood may no longer be D.C.'s epicenter of cool, but according to at least one local group, the area's club-goers are still plenty loud.
The D.C. Noise Control Act limits noise levels at night to 60 decibels—which is about the roar of a normal conversation—and the newly formed D.C. Nightlife Noise Coalition says the volume emanating from some nearby nightlife establishments is disrupting residents' quality of life, and city officials aren't enforcing the law.
"We finally decided that we need to band together, raise awareness, get the press together, and shine a light on this issue," says Sarah Peck, a lawyer and the coalition's spokeswoman, who wrote a 23-page white paper detailing how the noise ordinances aren't being enforced. "We need to take this seriously. This is a few blocks from the White House, and our officials are not taking this seriously."
Peck says the coalition largely comprises residents in the Palladium Condominium at 1325 18th St. NW, where she has lived since 2011. The group also has the support of Steve Coniglio, the developer of a 70-unit condominium next to the Tabard Inn on N Street NW, which is in "earshot" to the area south of Dupont Circle along Connecticut Avenue nicknamed Club Central.
Together, they have many tactics for fighting noise, including going around at night with a Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs-approved sound meter to measure the rowdiness of area establishments. The group is also meeting with government officials to demand they enforce these laws and is protesting the re-licensing of the worst noise offenders with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
The coalition issued a press release today saying that officials are responding to the "persistent Dupont Circle noise problem."
“I take noise complaints very seriously,” ABRA Director Fred Moosally is quoted as saying in the press release.
Kevin O'Connor, a Dupont ANC commissioner and member of the commission's Alcohol Policy Committee, says the new coalition's complaint about enforcement of noise ordinances is valid, but that a certain amount of noise is just going to happen in a longtime mixed-use neighborhood like Dupont.
"I am not sure that the views they represent are the views of all the Dupont Circle [neighborhood]," he says. "I don't think I agree with them on what their standard of acceptable noise is, but we always welcome community involvement on these matters."
Screen shot via Google Maps