Stop that racket!
That’s the word from Community Board 10, which has been getting an increasing number of complaints about noise coming from local bars and restaurants.
Now the board is reaching out to the city Department of Environmental Protection with suggestions on how to increase enforcement or add new regulations on noise issues in public establishments.
In a Dec. 30, 2013 letter to the DEP, the board offered four suggestions that the agency might bring to the City Council to review, and possibly add to the city’s Noise Code:
• Limiting the hours of use of outdoor speakers, or banning them outright.
• Establishing a DEP “robust public education unit on Best Management Practices.”
• Allowing owners of bars to install soundproofing devices instead of paying fines after a first offense.
• Requiring that new construction of a bar or restaurant include sound-proofing or muffling devices during the final build-out.
“One of the reasons we wrote this letter is that we are tired of the complaints,” said CB 10 Chairman John Marano, who noted in the letter that noise complaints about bars and restaurants is a “growing problem” in the board service area.
He noted in the letter that the board is being flooded with complaints, as is the local 45th Precinct and the city’s 311 system.
If there are neighbors living above an establishment or the bar or restaurant is attached to a residential house or next door, soundproofing should be a given as soon as the establishment is opened, he said.
“We feel the pain of the residents,” he said. “We want to be proactive and reduce their complaints, which will reduce the workload of the city agencies that respond. We feel that with these improvements…it will lessen everyone’s issues.”
The noise pollution complaints that the board hears are not limited to any particular part of its service area, said Marano, but come from areas as diverse as Westchester Avenue in Zerega and Pelham Bay, East Tremont Avenue from Waterbury-LaSalle to Throggs Neck, and on City Island.
The board is not looking to close down businesses or be the “bar cop”, and indeed wants to help local establishments avoid conflict with their neighbors, the very people that in most cases make up the bulk of their clientèle, he said.
A citywide advocacy campaign will be necessary, and the board recognizes that the issue is one affecting people throughout the Bronx and the city where, as the chairman put it, everyone lives in “close quarters.”
But CB 10 wants to be on the “front lines” of any campaign to strengthen the city’s Noise Code, because the people are on there, he said.
A DEP spokesman said: “We are reviewing the community board’s thoughtful suggestions, and are grateful that they took the time to share their concerns and experiences with us.”