Agenda Item 11
November 30,2010
Action
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
County Council
~MiChael
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Action: Bill 6-10, Noise Control- Arts and Entertainment Activities
SUBJECT:
Transportation,
Infrastructure,
Energy
and
Environment
Committee
recommendation: enact with amendments (2-0, Councilmember Leventhal absent).
Bill 6-10, Noise Control - Arts and Entertainment Activities, sponsored by
Councilmember EIrich and Council President Floreen, was introduced on March 2, 2010. A
public hearing was held on March 23 (see testimony, ©12-15) and a Transportation,
Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee worksession was held on November 22.
Summary Bill 6-10 would set different noise level standards for certain seasonal arts
and entertainment activities. It would also exempt noise levels created by those seasonal arts and
entertainment activities, up to a higher maximum level, from being treated as a noise
disturbance. In addition, a potential homebuyer would be notified about certain seasonal arts and
entertainment activities near those areas.
As introduced, this Bill would allow a performing arts facility (such as, but not limited to,
Strathmore Hall) which conducts at least 5 outdoor arts and entertainment activities (such as
concerts or films) each year to, at its option, annually file a noise mitigation plan with the
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP would review but would not approve the
plan. Having filed the plan, the facility would then be subject to a higher maximum noise level
from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during April through October - 75 dBA versus the normal 65 (daytime)
or 55 (nighttime) levels that apply to residential areas.
l
If an arts facility conducts fewer than 5
outdoor events, under the current
la~
it could apply for an event-by-event waiver, which is good
for up to 30 days, and would not have to file a noise mitigation plan.
Urban district redraft On November 17, attorneys William Kominers and Robert
Brewer, on behalf respectively of the Bethesda and Silver Spring urban districts and the
Strathmore Hall Foundation, submitted a redraft to Bill 6-1 O's sponsors. This redraft:
lFor a description ofthe various decibel levels, see ©19.
2See County Code §3IB-II (a).
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• limited the scope of the seasonal activities provision to any "qualifying performing
arts facility" that is County-owned or -operated and designated by a Council
resolution after a public hearing, and deleted the "more than 5 performances"
requirement;
• inserted a new provision, applying only to the urban districts (currently Bethesda,
Silver Spring, and Wheaton), which would essentially waive applicable noise limits
for any "permissible performance location" recommended by the urban district
advisory or corporation board and designated by the County Executive; and
• deleted the homebuyer notice requirement.
The Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee reviewed this
redraft at its worksession on November 22 and recommended enactment with further
amendments, described below.
Issues/Committee amendments
1) Should this increase in the applicable noise limits at specific performing arts
facilities be allowed?
The first section of this Bill (from ©3, line 52 to ©5, line 97) applies only to specific
County-owned or -operated performing arts facilities designated by the County Executive (see
©3, lines 33-42). (The Bill had originally required designation by Council resolution after a
public hearing.) This provision is intended mainly to cover Strathmore Hall, but it could also
apply to Black Rock and perhaps other facilities. To qualify, the facility management must file
and annually update a noise mitigation plan.
The management of Strathmore Hall Foundation (see testimony, ©12-13) in particular is
concerned that occupants of the new housing development (Symphony Park at Strathmore) being
built nearby would file a noise complaint during any outdoor performance event (concert or film)
which exceeds the relatively low 55 dBA nighttime noise limits. In their view, the ability to
apply for an event or 30-day waiver, which the current law allows, is not sufficient because they
need to schedule outdoor events and sign performers well in advance. They also argue that the
upper noise limit in this Bill, 75 dBA, is not excessive and would not offend nearby residents.
The description of decibel levels on ©19, furnished by Strathmore Hall Foundation, compares 75
dBA to an "average radio or vacuum cleaner", or, as we would say, loud enough to notice.
These measurements are taken at the property line, not at the noise source.
While DEP, the County's noise control enforcement agency, has received few complaints
about concerts or other seasonal outdoor entertainment activities, that doesn't necessarily mean
that the public does not object to them. DEP has received few if any complaints about outdoor
events at Strathmore recently, but a few years ago residents of nearby neighborhoods objected
strongly to noise from several outdoor movies; Strathmore management since revised its
operations to reduce the resulting noise levels.
2
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The County Noise Control Advisory Board (see memo, ©16-17) did not support this Bill
and instead proposed that Strathmore Hall Foundation use the long-term (up to 3 years) noise
waiver process allowed under the current law
3 .
This process includes public notice and a
hearing. In Council staffs view, a 3-year waiver period is too long for these facilities.
Committee recommendation:
Accept the concept of relaxing the applicable noise limits
during certain hours and times of year at designated sites.
2)
If
a relaxed noise level standard is allowed, should DEP be required to approve a
noise mitigation plan?
As introduced, Bill 6-10 only requires the applicant to submit a noise mitigation plan,
which DEP would review but not approve or reject. The 3-year waiver process which the Noise
Control Advisory Board prefers does not expressly require the applicant to submit a noise
mitigation plan, although DEP could require one as a condition of approving any waiver.
Council staff had recommended that DEP be directed to report to the Council and public
on the adequacy and effectiveness of each noise mitigation plan before the Executive designates
a site, and to advise each facility operator at any time if the plan it submitted does not take full
advantage of reasonably available noise control technology_
Committee recommendation:
do not require DEP to evaluate the adequacy and
effectiveness of each noise mitigation plan before the Executive designates a site, but direct DEP
to annually advise the Council and Executive whether the prescribed noise levels remain
appropriate for each site and on the extent of compliance with them (see ©5, lines 93-97).
3) Should a blanket waiver of the applicable noise limits in the urban districts be
allowed?
The new section of the Kominers-Brewer redraft (from ©5, line 98 to ©7, line 160)
applies to the urban districts (currently Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton). The redraft
would effectively waive applicable noise limits for any "permissible performance location"
nominated by the urban district advisory or corporation board and designated by the County
Executive without a public hearing (see ©3, lines 28-31).4 To qualify, the location's
management must file and annually update a noise information report, which is less rigorous
than the noise information plan required for a County-operated site.
Urban district representatives argued that downtown residents and visitors expect more
noise and often seek it out, and realize that higher decibel levels from music or theater
performances are part of the downtown "scene". DEP staff say that few if any noise complaints
have been received for downtown entertainment activities. But for another view, see the letter
from a County resident on ©18 protesting Silver Spring outdoor concerts.
3See County Code
§3IB-11(b).
4Because this proposal only applies to outdoor arts and entertainment activities, it would not affect the Fillmore
in
Silver Spring or any other indoor entertainment venue.
3
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The operating theory behind this prOVlSlon is essentially that the urban district
managements will not want to offend their residents and customers, and thus will not accept
noise levels beyond what is generally acceptable in a downtown area. While this statement may
be generally valid, the draft relies on a rather open-ended process that includes no defined role
for either DEP's noise enforcement staff or the public.
It
also waives all current County noise
limits and imposes no upper noise limit at all, so if an overly enthusiastic urban district allows an
overly enthusiastic concert promoter or bar to book the loudest rock band available and let them
play through the night, the nearby residents would have no statutory recourse (although it would
not preclude any affected person from filing a nuisance action in court).
Council staff recommended that the Committee sever this provision from the rest of Bill
6-10 and introduce it as a separate Bill with its own public hearing. Because current urban
district activities have generated few if any noise complaints, in our view this provision appeared
to be a solution in search of a problem, which needs more public exposure before receiving
serious Council consideration.
Committee recommendation:
accept the concept of shifting responsibility for noise
levels at certain outdoor performance sites in urban districts to the urban district after the
Executive designates the site as a permissible performance location. Tighten up this authority by
requiring 30 days' advance public notice before a site is nominated or a performance approved,
clarifying that the Executive can revoke a site designation at any time, and require the urban
district board to report annually on its experience with this authority and to forward each noise
complaint it receives to DEP.
4)
What if any disclosure should residents near a performing arts facility receive?
Bill 6-10 requires the seller of any residential property within 300 yards of a covered
performing arts facility to notify any buyer that seasonal arts and entertainment activities at the
facility would be subject to special noise limits (see ©8, lines 162-183). At the hearing the
Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) objected to this added disclosure
requirement, partly because it would add to many other required notices recently inserted in
County law (see GCAAR testimony, ©14-15).
This kind of pre-sale notice has another flaw: it's not clear when it would be triggered
because a performing arts facility could begin an outdoor concert program at any time, and home
sellers would not necessarily know when the facility has applied for the special noise standards
under this BilL
As an alternative form of notice among others, GCAAR suggested directing the
performing arts facility to notify surrounding homeowners. However, this would not reach
prospective homebuyers before they buy in that area. GCAAR also suggested that new
homebuyers in the Strathmore Hall area be given a notice tailored to that facility, or some
disclosure be required to be included in homeowners' association and condominium documents
for developments near a performing arts facility.
4
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The new urban district redraft would delete this notice provision altogether because the
Strathmore Hall Foundation is satisfied that it is not needed. Council staff concurred because it
raised too many operational issues to be feasibly enforced.
Committee recommendation:
delete the added notice from the Bill.
This packet contains:
Bill 6-10 with Committee amendments
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal Impact Statement
Hearing testimony
Memo from Noise Control Advisory Board
Letter re concert noise
Decibel scale
F:\LAw\BILLS\I006 Noise - Performing Arts Facility\Action Memo.Doc
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Bill No.
6-10
Concerning: Noise Control- Arts and
Entertainment Activities
Revised:
11-24-10
Draft No.
~
Introduced: March
2. 2010
Expires:
September
2, 2011
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: _N...."o:::,:n..:,::e:-----::--_ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmember EIrich and Council President Floreen
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
set different noise level standards for certain arts and entertainment activities;
exempt certain noise levels created by certain arts and entertainment activities from
being treated as a noise disturbance;
(3)
[[require certain notices to be given to certain potential homebuyers near certain arts
and entertainment activities; and)]
[[(4)]] generally amend the County noise control law.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 31B, Noise Control
Sections 31B-2 and 31B-5
By adding
Chapter 31B, Noise Control
Section 31
B-6A
and 31
B-6B
[[Chapter 40, Real Property
Section 40-12DJJ
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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1
2
Sec.
1.
Sections 31B-2 and 31B-5 are amended, and [[Section]] Sections
31B-6A [[is]] and 31B-6B are added, as follows:
31B-2.
Definitions.
3
[(a)]
[(b)]
[(c)]
[(d)]
[(e)]
[(t)]
[(g)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
[(i)]
(0)]
[(k)]
[(1)]
[(m)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
[(n)]
[(0)]
[(P)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
@
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28
29
Permissible Performance Location
means a defined area in an urban district
which is:
30
31
32
ill
ill
[(q)1
used for an outdoor
arts and entertainment activity;
and
nominateq and designated as provided in Secti9n 31B-6B.
*
*
*
33
[[Performing]] Qualifying performing arts facility
means
f!
building,
outdoor seasonal, temporary, or permanent stage, or other clearly defined area or
space, which is [[located at
f!
venue that primarily presents live theatrical, musical, or
dance
performances1]~
34
35
36
37
38
39
ill
ill
ill
used for
an
arts and entertainment activity;
owned or operated by the County; and
so designated by the County Executive in an Executive Order published
in the County Register. The Executive may revoke a designation at any
time by publishing
County Register.
40
41
42
an
Executive Order revoking the designation in the
43
44
45
46
[(r)1
[(s)]
let)]
31B-5.
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
Noise level and noise disturbance violations.
Maximum allowable noise levels.
(1)
Except as otherwise provided in Section
31B-6(a)~
31B-6A, 31B­
6B, and 31B-8, a person must not cause or permit noise levels
that exceed the following levels:
47
(a)
48
49
50
51
52
*
31B-6A.
activities.
*
*
Seasonal noise level standard for qualifying arts and entertainment
53
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54
55
ill
If [[more than
~
perfonnances of1] an outdoor
arts and entertainment
activity
will be conducted at
~
qualifying
performing arts facility,
the
[[owner or manager]] o]2erator of the
facility
may file
~
56
57
noise
mitigation plan,
prepared
121:
an acoustical engineer or consultant, with
the Department. The
plan
must include:
58
59
60
61
ill
ill
ill
perfonnance requirements;
the
and
infonnation about the impact of the proposed
arts and
~
of noise mitigation measures that the facility will use;
62
63
entertainment activity
and the planned noise mitigation
measures on the perfonners, the audience, and the occupants of
[[nearby]] properties within 1000 feet of the ]2erimeter of the
64
65
66
67
facility.
The Department must make each
plan
filed with it available to the
public and send
f!
QQPY
to the Noise Control Advisory Board.
(Q)
68
69
If the [[owner or manager]] o]2erator of
~
qualifying performing arts
70
71
facility
submits
f!
completed
noise-mitigation plan
to the Department
and conducts [[at least 5]] all outdoor
arts and entertainment
72
73
activities
each year in accordance with that
plan,
each outdoor
arts and
entertainment activity
held at the
facility
must not exceed the
following noise decibel limits:
74
75
76
77
ill
ill
W
from
11
a.m. to
11
p.m. during April
1
through October
lL
7S
dBA, as measured on the receiving property; and
at all other times, the maximum allowable noise level set in
Section
31B-S.
A [(person]]
qualifying performing arts facility
which has filed a
78
79
80
noise mitigation plan
and otherwise complied with this Section must
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81
not cause or pennit nOise levels from an outdoor
arts and
82
83
84
85
86
87
entertainment activity
[[which is subject to this Section]] to exceed the
standards in subsection
.(Q1
@
Any outdoor
arts and entertainment activity
[[subject to]] conducted
at a
qualifying performing arts facilitv
which has filed a
noise
mitigation plan
and otherwise complied with this Section [[which
meets the standards in subsection
(Q)]]
must not be cited as causing !!
noise disturbance.
88
89
90
W
For!!
qualifying performing arts facility
to remain in compliance with
this Section, its [[owner or manager]] operator must update its filed
91
noise mitigation plan
as necessary to reflect significant changes in
programming and noise control technology, and must file an updated
92
93
94
95
plan
with the Department not later than March
l2.
each year.
Department must annually advise the Executive and Council. and the
operator of each
qualifying performing arts facility.
whether the noise
levels specified in this Section remain appropriate for that
facility
and
the extent of compliance with those levels.
31B-6B.
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
Noise review procedure for outdoor arts and entertainment
activities
in
urban districts.
W
A defined area located in an urban district may qualify as a
permissible
performance location
if the area is:
ill
nominated for that pumose by the applicable urban district
advisory committee or urban district comoration board of
directors after the committee or board has:
(8J
given at least 30 days' public notice on the website of the
applicable County regional services center that it is
considering a nomination of a specific area; and
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108
109
iID
reviewed and approved the m
nomination at a regularly
scheduled monthly meeting; and
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
ill
after it is so nominated. designated by the County Executive as a
permissible performance location
in an Executive Order
publishedjn the County Register.
Th~
Executive may revoke a
designation at any time by publishing an Executive Order
revoking the designation in the County Register.
(b)
If an outdoor
arts and entertainment activity
will be conducted in an
urban district. the owner or operator of the designated
permissible
performance location
where the
activity
will be conducted must first
118
119
file a noise information report with the applicable urban district
advisorv committee or corporation board of directors.
information report must:
Each noise
120
121
122
ill
describe each
arts and entertainment activity
to be conducted
at that
location:
123
124
125
126
127
ill
ill
ill
ill
££l
list each performance date and time;
specify who will sponsor each
activity:
describe the target audience for each performance; and
identify the
permissible performance location
for each
activity.
The urban district committee or board must review each noise
information report at a regularly scheduled monthly meeting and advise
the owner or operator whether each proposed outdoor perfom18nce is
consistent with the goals and objectives. visio
ll.
and mission strategy of
the district. The committee or board must first give at least 30 days'
public notice on the website of the applicable County regional services
center that it will review am noise information report at a specific
128
129
130
131
132
133
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134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
~
meeting. This review may occur in conjunction with the nomination of
a permissible performance location under subsection Cal.
U!'l
If the owner or operator of each permissible performance location
submits a noise information report and receives the advice of the
applicable urban district advisory committee or comoration boani, each
outdoor arts and entertainment activity conducted at the location as
specified in the report lllust be treated as complying with the noise
limits in Section 31B-5 and must not be cited as causing a noise
disturbance.
To remain in compliance with this Section. the owner or operator of
each permissible performance location must update its noise
information repQrt as necessary to reflect any significant changes in the
type of planned arts and entertainment activities and any additional
arts and entertainment activity not previously described in the report.
An
updated noise information report may be filed at any time. but an
updated report must be filed not later than March 15 of each year before
any outdoor arts and entertainment activity may be conducted at that
permissible performance location during that year.
In
its annual report filed under Section 68A-12Cdl. each urban district
must list each permissible performance location that the district
nominated during that year and each noise information report that it
reviewed.
The report also must list the types and number of noise
complaints about outdoor arts and entertainment activities in the
district that the district received during that year and discuss the
district's response, if any, to those complaints.
The district must
forward a copy of each written noise complaint that it receives to the
Department.
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161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
[[Sec. 2.
Section
[[40-12D.
40~12D
is added as follows:]]
Disclosure of noise from certain arts and entertainment activities.
cru
If any residential real property is located within 300 yards of
f!
performing arts facility
where
~
or more outdoor
arts and
entertainment activities
which are subject to special noise level
standards under Section 31B-6A have been conducted during the
previous 12 months or are scheduled to be conducted in the next 12
months, any seller of that property must disclose to each prospective
buyer, before the buyer
~
f!
contract to buy the property, that certain
seasonal outdoor
arts and entertainment activities
conducted at that
facility
are subject to special noise level standards which may exceed
otherwise applicable noise limits.
®
A prospective buyer must indicate,
Qy
signing an addendum to the
contract or
f!
separate section of the contract printed in boldface
f!
clearly demarcated box, that:
~
in
ill
ill
the seller has provided the information required
Qy
subsection.cru.;
and
the buyer understands that:
(A)
nearby property may be
f!
source of periodic noise from
seasonal outdoor
arts and entertainment activities;
and
ill)
the buyer may obtain more information about noise limits
on these activities from the County Department of
Environmental Protection.]]
Approved:
185
186
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
Date
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bill 6-10
Noise Control
-
Arts and Entertainment Activities
DESCRIPTION:
Sets higher noise level standards during specific hours and seasons
for certain arts and entertainment activities. Exempts certain noise
levels created by certain arts and entertainment activities from being
treated as a noise disturbance. Requires potential homebuyers near
covered outdoor performance areas to be notified about potential
noise from arts and entertainment activities at those areas.
Certain outdoor performing arts activities with substantial community
support may violate current evening noise standards.
To allow reasonable, enforceable standards to apply to seasonal
outdoor performances, and to notify potential neighbors that outdoor
performances with different noise standards may be held nearby.
Department of Environmental Protection
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Michael Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney, 240-777-7905
To be researched.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMP ACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITIDN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Class A
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f:\law\bills\1006 noise· performing arts facility\legislative request report.
de
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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
Joseph
F.
Beach
Director
MEMORANDUM
March 17, 2010
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Nancy Floreen,
~:.sViden
County Council
Joseph F.
Beach.~or
Council Bill 6-10, Noise Control- Arts and Entertainment Activities
The purpose ofthis memorandum is to transmit a fiscal and economic impact statement to
the
Counc~1
on the subject legislation.
LEGISLATION SUMMARY
This bill
will
establish a "seasonal noise level standard" that exceeds otherwise applicable
noise standards for qualifYing outdoor arts and entertainment activities that consist of more than five
performances at a performing
arts
facility. To qualify for the seasonal noise level standard, the owner of
the facility must file a noise mitigation plan, prepared by an acoustical engineer or consultant, with the
Department of Environmental Protection. The plan must specify, among other things, the types of noise
mitigation measures
that
the facility will employ and the impact ofthe proposed
arts
and entertainment
activity and of the noise mitigation measures on the performers, the audience, and nearby properties. The
Department ofEnvironmental Protection must make the plan available
to
the public and send a copy to
the Noise Control Advisory Board.
In addition, potential buyers ofresidential real property located within 300 yards of a
performing arts facility subject to the seasonal noise level standard must be notified by the seller that
there may be periodic noise from nearby seasonal outdoor
arts
and entertainment activities that may
exceed otherwise applicable noise limits.
~CALANDECONO~CSUMMARY
This legislation does not appear to have a fiscal impact on the County, although the exact
scope ofthe facilities affected is still to be determined. The noise mitigation plan submitted by the owner
of a performing
arts
facility will not require processing or approval by the Department ofEnviroomental
Protection, except for making it available to the public and to the Noise Advisory Board. However, it is
uncertain at this time whether the legislation
will
affect County-sponsored seasonal outdoor activities,
either by restricting them or by requiring the County to pay for the preparation and implementation of a
noise mitigation plan.
Office of the Dh·ector
101 Monroe Street, 14th Floor • Rockville, Maryland 20850 • 240-777-2800
www.montgomerycountymd.gov
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Nancy Florcen, President, County Council
March 17,2010
Page
2
The Department ofFinance has determined that
this
bill will not have an overall economic
impact. However,
it
is unclear what effect,
if
any, the notification requirements contained in the proposed
bill may have on sellers of property in the vicinity of performing arts facilities, or on the real estate
industry.
The following contributed
to
and concurred with this analysis: Stan Edwards, Department
ofEnvironmental Protection; Mike Coveyou, Department of Finance; and John Greiner, Office of
Management
and
Budget.
JFB:jg
c: Kathleen Boucher, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Dee Gonzalez, Offices ofthe County Executive
Bob Hoyt, Director, Department of Environmental Protection
Stan Edwards, Department of Environmental Protection
Mike Coveyou, Department of Finance
John Greiner, Office ofManagement and Budget
Jolm Cuff, Office of Management and Budget
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131//
:tf.3
,,-/i)
Remarks from Eliot Pfanstiehl, President
&
CEO
Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.
March 23, 2010
Re: Bill No. 6-10
Noise Control Arts and Entertainment Activities
Good Evening: Council President Floreen and Members of the County Council:
My name is Eliot Pfanstiehl, President and CEO of Strathmore Hall Foundation. Strathmore is a
performing arts center that offers both indoor and outdoor concerts and performances, art
exhibitions, film and other outdoor festivals, and various educational services for the benefit of
the public. Strathmore is one of the performing arts centers that will benefit from the proposed
Noise Ordinance amendments.
For the past 24 years, Strathmore has presented hundreds of concerts, art exhibitions, community
festivals, and outdoor movies while welcoming thousands of artists and several million citizens
to the 11 acres campus. Strathmore has become synonymous for the cultural quality of life for
the residents of Montgomery County, in part due to the free outdoor events offered every year on
the lawn and in the Gudelsky Gazebo.
, During the last 3 years, Strathmore has been working with two developers on the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) property developing "Symphony Park", a 112­
unit condominium project, which borders the Strathmore campus to the north. With the
proposed change in the use of the site from office to residential use, and coupled with the close
proximity of the proposed residences to the Strathmore campus, this could compromise the
continuance of all outdoor activities at Strathmore, unless certain changes are made to the
County's current noise regulations.
During the summer of 2007, the County Department of Environmental Protection monitored
sound levels from our outdoor concerts and the NIH Film Festival. Virtually all the events
violated the County's nighttime residential noise standard of 55 dBA maximum at the nearest
proposed property line.
We believe this proposed amendment is important for addressing inherent conflicts between the
new neighbors at Symphony Park, the current Noise Ordinance and the cultural events desired by
County residents, and note that such an amendment would further ensure future compliance of
Strathmore's outdoor events with the Noise Ordinance.
(over)
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Remarks from Eliot Pfanstiehl, President
&
CEO
Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.
March 23, 2010
Re: Bill No.
6-10
Noise Control - Arts and Entertainment Activities
pg 2.
The Board of Directors of the Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc. represents the larger community
and is guided by its primary objective to protect the substantial public investment in the
Strathmore facilities. With the capital investment of $48 million each by both Montgomery
County and the State of Maryland to build the Music Center, we were concerned about
maintaining our mission in the face of this new development.
In addition to the public funds expended, Strathmore generated private contributions and earned
income over the years that now exceed $50 million dollars. Protecting this public and private
investment is our moral and fiduciary responsibility.
We maintain that the County Council should amend the current Noise Ordinance to create an
exception for the outdoor activities for the cultural arts centers of Montgomery County. Unless
the Noise Ordinance is amended, it will only be a matter of time before the most accessible
programs will be curtailed by citizen appeals to the ordinance.
We want to thank you for allowing us to testify this evening and I would be happy to answer any
questions you may have.
@
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GREATER CAPITAL AREA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS'"
TESTIMONY OF
THE GREATER
CAPITAL AREA
ASSOCIATION OF
REALTORS®
BEFORE THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL REGARDING
"BILL 6-10, NOISE CONTROL
-
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ACTIVITIES"
March 23, 2010
Council President Floreen and members of the council, my name is Shelly Murray and
I
am the
2010 President for the Greater Capital Area Association of REAL TORS® ("GCAAR") - the
voice of Montgomery County and the District of Columbia's nearly 9,300 REALTORS®,
property managers, title attorneys and other real estate professionals. On behalf of GCAAR,
I
would like to make some comments regarding Bill 6-10.
REALTORS® Supportive of Disclosure
As many of you on the Council know, GCAAR has worked very closely with you in the past on
similar issues related to disclosures in the real estate contract. For example, the Historic
Preservation, Special Protection Area, agricultural, and most recently development districts and
estimated tax disclosures. GCAAR fully understands the intent of this new legislation and that it
is important so that homeowners and future homeowners are fully aware of any arts and
entertainment activities going on within a certain distance from their homes. Therefore, GCAAR
would like to work closely with the Council to find the most sufficient and adequate way for
residents to understand the arts and entertainment activities in the county.
Prior to this hearing, GCAAR met with lead sponsor Councilmember EIrich to discuss many of
our concerns that we have with yet another disclosure to the real estate contract. While GCAAR
is generally supportive of disclosure because it helps a buyer make a more informed decision
about a particular piece of residential property, we have many concerns with the recent increase
of government regulations on the real estate transaction, the mandates of disclosures and the
extra paperwork that they add to the real estate contract. As I'm sure many of you are aware,
over the years the real estate contract has gone from only a few pages to a very lengthy, thick and
overly cumbersome document. GCAAR has been working very hard over the years to find ways
to simplify and streamline the contract. And every new real property disclosure potentially adds
another page to the contract. And since this particular issue only affects a small part of the
county residents, we are concerned that the disclosure language is broader than necessary right
now.
A Better Way for Notification
GCAAR very clearly understands that there is a need to notify buyers of certain state and county
laws. We had a very good discussion with Councilmember EIrich on how to modify and amend
8757 GEORGiA AVENUE' SUITE 600 • SilVER
SPRI~jG.
MD 20910-3737
PHONE 301.590.2000 • FAX 301590.2248
REALTOR'"
www.gcam.com
EQuAL "IO"JSING
OPPORTUNIty
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the legislation to see if there is a way to remove the element of the real estate transaction and
maybe look at some type of public notice requirement. We have several suggested changes that
might accomplish the same goal without putting the burden on a seller to disclose an item that is
probably more feasibly accomplished through a public notice requirement.
Here are some of our suggested changes:
• Offer an amendment to change Section 40-12D to change the language so that it is NOT a
disclosure that a seller has to provide the buyer with;
• Change the disclosure to be a "Notice Requirement" on the performing arts facility where
5 or more outdoor arts and entertainment activities are held. They must notify all
homeowners within 300 yards that this facility is subject to special noise levels standards:
a. The notice must include information on the county's noise ordinance, noise levels
permitted to this facility, the activities conducted by the facility, homeowners'
rights, etc.
b. This notice should satisfy any legal issues as long as the notice is provided and it
also should be distributed in a certain timeframe should the facility choose to
change their activities
c. We would suggest the notice also be provided every 6 months or at least on an
annual basis;
• HOAICondo docs - another way and an additional way would be to look into having this
notice included in the HOAIcondo documents so that buyers will be made aware that they
are purchasing within 300 yards of a performing arts facility
• Master plan - look to see what is listed on the master plan and if there is anyway a buyer
could see this on a master plan
• Property tax records the property tax records provide a lot of detailed information about
a home. Is there a way to include this information in an address search of a home?
• Strathmore Hall specific - All potential buyers must be given a notification that
Strathmore Hall is within 300 yards of where the homes are being built. The notification
would provide further information on the county's noise ordinance.
GCAAR looks forward to continuing to work on this issue to find a proper solution so that all
homeowners and future homeowners are properly notified about arts and entertainment activities
near their homes. Thank you for your consideration of GCAAR's perspective on this issue.
2
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057886
NOISE CONTROL ADVISORY BOARD
MEMORAJ.~J)UM
July 6, 2010
TO:
Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council
John Fuchs
Chair, Noise Control Advisory Board
Bi116-10, Noise Control,
Arts
and Entertainment Activities
FROM:
-=:
SUBJECT:
The Montgomery County Noise Control Advisory Board
(NCAB)
has reviewed
proposed Bill 6-10, Noise Control, Arts and Entertainment Activities, sponsored by
Councilmember EIrich and Council President Floreen. Bill 6-1 0 would establish different
maximum noise levels for certain arts and entertainment activities and, in some cases, would
exempt the noise from these activities from being treated as a noise disturbance. We were
fortunate to have Mr. Dale Tibbitts, from Councilmember Marc EIrich's staff, attend our June
14,2010 meeting along with representatives from several of the County's Regional Services
Centers.
The NCAB is mandated by law to advise the County Executive, County Council,
and the Director ofthe Department of Environmental Protection on noise control issues.
Pursuant to this mandate, at its last meeting the Board and its guests discussed several concerns
regarding Bill 6-10 and provides the following comments:
• The defmition of a "performing arts facility" is vague and could easily be misused.
As written, noise mitigation plans do not need to be approved, just submitted, and
there is no recourse if an entity does not follow the noise mitigation plan. There may
be consequences associated with a County approval that would limit the County's
enforcement powers.
• There is no oversight or enforcement. The County may have resource limitations in
these areas.
• The burden of proof for a disturbance is on the affected property owner.
•. Noise mitigation plans are not required to be posted for public viewing, unlike a
permit. There was discussion about the mechanism for disclosing the special noise
considerations during real estate transactions of affected properties.
It is unclear whether there is an appeal process or what an appeal would involve.
• The term "exempted residential" requires further definition or clarification as it
applies to this topic.
255 Rockville
Suite 120 • Rockville, Maryland 20850-2589 • 240-777-7700
www,montgomerycountymd.gov
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Nancy Floreen
July 6,2010
Page 2
Following the informative discussions during our June 14th meeting, the NCAB
recommends that the County use the provision for a three-year noise waiver that is currently
allowed under Chapter 31B ofthe Montgomery County Code to address the underlying issues
that introduction of Bill 6-10 is expected to resolve.
It
is possible that slight modifications to the
current code may be required, but the legislative activity involved would be less than the
introduction of a new law.
Mr.
Tibbitts also stated that the NCAB Chair is welcome to attend the upcoming
work session on this proposed legislation. I am happy to accept the invitation and will attend the
working session on July 15 th to discuss our comments before the County moves forward with
Bill 6-10. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
cc:
County Executive Isiah Leggett
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THE GAZETTE.
Ii-5C
J
10
.LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Tum down
the
volume in urban centers
I am writing to express my continued frustra­ the phone. Even walking down the street toward
tion with the volume of the concerts in down­ the AFI theater, it is not possible to just have a
town SUver Spring. They drown out every attempt conversation 1.ll1til we get aro1.ll1d the comer.
This Saturday there was a chess tournament
at conversation for
100
yards.
When concerts are in force, it is impossible to (with players) struggling to concentrate over the
. eat outside at the restaurants - the wait staff ear splitting, static-filled s01.ll1d.
As
a professional who follows health issues as
\ cannot hear our orders and I cannot hear them ..
Managers have told me they are not allowed to part of my job,
I
recognize this as clearly loud
complain about the volume. Even inside, the enough to permanently damage hearing. I can't
s01.ll1d drowns out ambiance and any music imagine that it is within allowable decibel limits.
. If
it wasn't our own government sanctioning it,
inside.
I can't have friends call to ask where to meet there would be tickets and arrests. Parents should
me, because it is impossible to hear them over not be forced to decide between the f01.ll1tain and
their children's safety. Employees should not have
to choose theirjobs or their hearing.
I like the music most of the time. However,
I'm hot going to permanently
ruin
my hearing for
it.
.
My calls have been met with empty promises
to lower the dangerous volume. What organiza­
tion is acco1.ll1table to the employees, diners, and
families in downtown Silver Spring for the dan­
gerously high decibels of the noise here? When
will
the decibel levels be enforced? Who
will
take
responsibility and supervise
this
~ctivity?
Andrea Chamblee,
Silver
Spring
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.
For general comparisons about noise related issues please refer to the
following. All measurements are based on a distance of 6 feet
(industry standard):
• 30dBA is a whisper
• 45 dBA is rustling of leaves, background music
• 52 dBA is typical desktop computer
• 60 dBA is normal conversation
• 75 dBA is average radio, vacuum cleaner
• 80 dBA is busy office
• 82 dBA is inside coach section of typical passenger jet
• 85 dBA steady sound levels for a working shift of 8 hours of is the
maximum generally permitted as per the 1983 OSHA Published
Standards.
_
• 100 dBA tractor or power saw
• 120 dBA is chain saw, jackhammer or snowmobile
• 135 dBA is jet taking
off,
rock concert
• 140 dBA is threshold of pain, gunshot or siren
@