Location of dB Readings Changed
I have finally had a chance to look through the new ordinance more thoroughly, and, sure enough, I missed something … line (2), below, stating that “decibel limits .. must be measured … “from the location of the sound equipment on the property or site where the permit is issued.”
“§ 9-2-30 DECIBEL LIMITS FOR OUTDOOR MUSIC
(C) The decibel limits prescribed under this section must be measured:
(1) with a decibel meter approved by the music office; and
(2) from the location of the sound equipment on the property or site where the permit is issued.”
Unless I’m misunderstanding something here, this is not good. I think I know how, but I do not, for the life of me, understand why this made it in to the new ordinance. I’ve read reference to this change only once before. It is recommendation #4 in the letter DANA recently sent to the Mayor and City Council. DANA made the absurd suggestion that … “4. Amplified sound should be measured at the source not at the property line where elevated decks make accurate measurement problematic.”
Prior to the passage of the new ordinance, decibel readings were taken at the property line:
“§ 9-2-4 RESTRICTION ON DECIBEL LEVEL.
A person may not operate sound equipment at a business that produces sound:
(1) in excess of 85 decibels between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., as measured at the property line of the business;”
In fact, if a decibel reading is necessary because a complaint has been called in, many would agree that a more reasonable point of measurement would be from the location where the complaint originated.
Surely, to enforce the 70dB and 85 dB levels, the Police are not going to stand in front of the stage speakers to take their measurements!
If I remember correctly, Don Pitts, Manager of the Music Office, reminded me, during the Mean Eyed Cat OMVP approval process, that decibel readings are entirely dependent on the location of the meter, in relation to the sound source. And he had a good point.
In my opinion, this line needs to be immediately amended, at the very next Council meeting, or everyone’s going to have to set their amps on “-1″. Hell, even non-amplified, acoustic music would fail the 70 dB level test, if the readings are taken “from the location of the sound equipment”.