T&E ITEM 4
July 15,2010
Worksession
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
~iChael
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Worksession:
Bill 6-10, Noise Control- Arts and Entertainment Activities
SUBJECT:
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, ©9-12).
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.
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. If an arts facility conducts fewer than 5 outdoor
events, under the current law (see County Code §31B-ll(a» 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.
Issues
1) Should this kind of blanket waiver of the applicable noise limits be allowed?
The management of Strathmore Hall Foundation (see testimony, ©9-1O) in particular is
concerned that occupants of the new housing development (Symphony Park) being built nearby
would file a noise complaint during any outdoor performance event (concert or film) which
exceeds the applicable relatively low 55 dBA nighttime noise limits. In their view, the ability to
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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 perfonners 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.
While the County's noise control enforcement agency, the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) 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.
For another view, see the letter from a County resident on ©15 regarding Silver Spring outdoor
concerts.
The County Noise Control Advisory Board (see memo, ©13-14) does not support this
Bill and instead proposed that Strathmore Hall Foundation use the long-tenn (up to 3 years)
noise waiver process allowed under the current law (see County Code §31 B-11 (b)). This process
includes public notice and a hearing.
2)
If
any waiver 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 the waiver.
3) What if any disclosure should surrounding residents receive?
Bill 6-10 requires the seller of any residential property within 300 yards of a covered
perfonning arts facility
1
to notify any buyer that seasonal arts and entertainment activities at the
facility would be subject to special noise limits (see ©4-5, lines 77-98). 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, ©11-12).
This kind of pre-sale notice has another flaw: it's not clear when it would be triggered
because a perfonning arts facility could begin an outdoor concert program at any time, and horne
sellers would not necessarily know when the facility has applies for the special noise standards
under this Bill.
As an alternative fonn of notice among others, GCAAR suggested directing the
perfonning 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
IA
"performing arts facility is defined in Bill 6-10 (see ©2, lines 25-27) in a way that limits it to a venue that
primarily presents live theatrical, music, or dance performances, such as Strathmore, Black Rock, or Round House
Theater, and in staffs view would not cover a temporary performance area such as the site of downtown concerts in
Silver Spring, Bethesda, or Rockville. Those areas would
be
subject to the otherwise applicable noise limits and
could apply for waivers under the current law.
2
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disclosure be required to be included in homeowners' association and condominium documents
for developments near a performing arts facility.
This packet contains:
Bill 6-10
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal Impact Statement
Hearing testimony
Memo from Noise Control Advisory Board
Letter re concert noise
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1
6
7
9
13
15
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Bill No.
6-10
Concerning: Noise Control - Arts and
Entertainment Activities
Revised:
2-25-10
Draft No.
_1_
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)
(3)
(4)
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;
require certain notices to be given to certain potential homebuyers near certain arts
and entertainment activities; and
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
Chapter 40, Real Property
Section 40-12D
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double undedining
[[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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BILL No. 6-10
1
2
3
Sec.
1.
Sections 31B-2 and 31B-5 are amended, and Section 31B-6A is
added, as follows:
31B-2.
Definitions.
work, such as
~ ~
film, music, or dance.
[(a)]
[(b)]
[(c)]
[(d)]
[(e)]
[(f)]
[(g)]
[(i)]
(0)]
[(k)]
[(1)]
[em)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
23
24
[en)]
[(0)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
~
25
Performing arts facility
means
building, outdoor seasonal, temporary, or
~
26
27
permanent stage, or other clearly defined area or space, which is located at
that primarily presents live theatrical, musical, or dance performances.
venue
&
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Faci
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I006 Billl.Doc
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BILL
No. 6-10
28
[(P)]
29
30
31
32
33
34
[(q)]
[(r)]
res)]
let)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
3tB-5.
(a)
Noise level and noise disturbance violations.
Maximum allowable noise levels.
(1 )
35
36
Except as otherwise provided in Section 31B-6(a).\ 31B-6A, and
31 B-8, a person must not cause or permit noise levels that exceed
the following levels:
37
38
39
40
*
3tB-6A.
activities.
(ill
*
*
Seasonal noise level standard for qualifying arts and entertainment
~
41
42
If more than
performances of an outdoor
arts and entertainment
~
activity
will be conducted at
performing arts facility,
the owner or
~
43
44
45
manager of the
facility
may file
noise mitigation plan,
prepared
Qy
an acoustical engineer or consultant, with the Department. The
plan
must include:
46
47
48
ill
ill
ill
performance requirements;
the
and
information about the impact of the proposed
arts and
~
of noise mitigation measures that the facility will use;
49
50
51
52
entertainment activity
and the planned noise mitigation
measures on the performers, the audience, and the occupants of
nearby properties.
The Department must make each
plan
filed with
53
54
i1
available to the
public and send
~
£QPY
to the Noise Control Advisory Board.
&
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BILL No. 6-10
55
56
57
58
59
®
If the owner or manager of
£!
performing arts facility
submits
£!
completed
noise-mitigation plan
to the Department and conducts at
least
.2.
outdoor
arts and entertainment 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:
60
61
ill
ill
!£)
from
11
a.m.
to
11
p.m.
during April
1
through October 31,
75
62
63
dBA, as measured on the receiving property; and
at all other times, the maximum allowable noise level set in
Section 31B-5.
A person must not cause or permit noise levels from an outdoor
arts
64
65
66
67
68
and entertainment activity
which is subject to this Section to exceed
the standards in subsection (Q1
@
Any outdoor
arts and entertainment activity
subject to this Section
which meets the standards in subsection
ilil
must not be cited as causing
£!
noise disturbance.
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
ill
For
£!
performing arts facility
to remam m compliance with this
Section, its owner or manager must update its
noise mitigation plan
as
necessary to reflect significant changes in programming and noise
control technology, and must file an updated
plan
with the Department
not later than March
1.2.
each year.
Sec. 2. Section 40-12D is added as follows:
40-12D.
Disclosure of noise from certain arts and entertainment activities.
If any residential real property is located within 300 yards of
£!
ill
performing arts facility
where
.2.
or more outdoor
arts and
entertainment activities
which are subject to special noise level
standards under Section 31 B-6A have been conducted during the
80
81
-0-
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BILL
No. 6-10
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
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
~
£!:
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
£!:
separate section of the contract printed in boldface
£!:
clearly demarcated box, that:
~
in
90
91
ill
ill
the seller has provided the information required
Qy
subsection
W;.
and
the buyer understands that:
92
93
94
CA)
nearby property may be
£!:
source of periodic noise from
seasonal outdoor
arts and entertainment activities;
and
95
96
97
98
99
ill)
the buyer may obtain more information about noise limits
on these activities from the County Department of
Environmental Protection.
Approved:
100
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
101
Date
Approved:
102
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
103
Date
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
104
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
&
F:\LAW\BILLS\ I006 Noise - Perfonning
Arts
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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 IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Class A
F:\LAW\B!LLS\l006 Noise· Performing Arts Facility\Legislative Request Report.Doc
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.
Beacb
Director
MEMORANDUM
March 17, 2010
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Nancy Floreen,
~:~
County Council
Joseph F.
Beach.~or
Council Bi1I 6-10, Noise Control-
Arts
and Entertainment Activities
The purpose ofthis memorandum is to transmit a fiscal and economic impact statement to
the Council on the subject legislation.
LEGISLATION SUMMARY
This bill
will
establish a "seasonal noise level standard" that exceeds otherwise applicable
noise standards for qua.litYing 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 ofEnvironmental Protection. The plan must specifY. among other things, the types ofnoise
mitigation measures
that
the facility will employ and the
impact
of the 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 ofa
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.
FISCAL AND ECONOMIC SUMMARY·
This legislation does not appear to have a fiscal impact on the County, although the exact
scope ofthe facilities affected is stilI to be detennined. The noise mitigation plan submitted by the owner
ofa performing
arts
facility will not require processing or approval by the Deparbnent of Environmental
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 Director
101
Monroe Street, 14th Floor • Rockville, Maryland
20850 • 240·777·2800
www.montgomerycountymd.gov
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Nancy Floroon, 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 seUers 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
of Environmental Protection; Mike Coveyou, Department ofFinance; 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 ofEnvironmental Protection
Mike Coveyou, Department of Finance
John Greiner, Office ofManagement and Budget
John Cuff, Office of Management and Budget
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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
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
pg2.
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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,"
~
GC,&;t
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 ofthe council, my name is Shelly Murray and
I
am the
2010 President for the Greater Capital Area Association ofREALTORS® ("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 Bil16-10.
REAL TORS® 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 SPRING, MD 20910-3737
PHONE 301.590.2000 • FAX 301.590.2248
REALTOR-
wwv".gcaar.com
EQUAL HOUSING
QPPORTUNlTY
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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;
• HOA/Condo docs - another way and an additional way would be to look into having this
notice included in the HOA/condo 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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mF
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057886
NOISE CONTROL ADVTSORY BOARD
MEMORANDUM
July 6,2010
TO:
Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council
JobnFuchs
Chair, Noise Control Advisory Board
Bill 6-10, 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 6-10 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 Elrich'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 of the 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 defInition 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 tenn "exempted residential" requires further defInition or clarifIcation as it
applies to this topic.
255 Rockville Pike, Suite 120 • Rockville, Maryland 20850-2589 • 240-777-7700
www.montgomerycountymd.gov
@J
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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 3lB of the Montgomery County Code to address the underlying issues
that introduction of Bill 6-1 0 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
5-5010
.LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Turn 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 Silver Spring. They drown out every attempt conversation until we get around the comer.
at conversation for
100
yards.
This Saturday there was a chess tournament
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 sound.
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
sound drowns out ambiance and any music imagine that it is within allowable decibel limits.
inside.
, If
it wasn't our own government sanctioning it,
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 fountain and
their children's safety. Employees should not have
to choose their jobs or their hearing.
I
like the music most of the time. However,
I'm
not 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 accountable 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 activity'?
'
.
Silver Spring
Andrea Chamblee,
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T&E ITEM 4
July 15,2010
Worksession
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
~iChael
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Worksession:
Bill 6-10, Noise Control- Arts and Entertainment Activities
SUBJECT:
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, ©9-12).
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.
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. If an arts facility conducts fewer than 5 outdoor
events, under the current law (see County Code §31B-ll(a» 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.
Issues
1) Should this kind of blanket waiver of the applicable noise limits be allowed?
The management of Strathmore Hall Foundation (see testimony, ©9-1O) in particular is
concerned that occupants of the new housing development (Symphony Park) being built nearby
would file a noise complaint during any outdoor performance event (concert or film) which
exceeds the applicable relatively low 55 dBA nighttime noise limits. In their view, the ability to
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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 perfonners 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.
While the County's noise control enforcement agency, the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) 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.
For another view, see the letter from a County resident on ©15 regarding Silver Spring outdoor
concerts.
The County Noise Control Advisory Board (see memo, ©13-14) does not support this
Bill and instead proposed that Strathmore Hall Foundation use the long-tenn (up to 3 years)
noise waiver process allowed under the current law (see County Code §31 B-11 (b)). This process
includes public notice and a hearing.
2)
If
any waiver 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 the waiver.
3) What if any disclosure should surrounding residents receive?
Bill 6-10 requires the seller of any residential property within 300 yards of a covered
perfonning arts facility
1
to notify any buyer that seasonal arts and entertainment activities at the
facility would be subject to special noise limits (see ©4-5, lines 77-98). 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, ©11-12).
This kind of pre-sale notice has another flaw: it's not clear when it would be triggered
because a perfonning arts facility could begin an outdoor concert program at any time, and horne
sellers would not necessarily know when the facility has applies for the special noise standards
under this Bill.
As an alternative fonn of notice among others, GCAAR suggested directing the
perfonning 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
IA
"performing arts facility is defined in Bill 6-10 (see ©2, lines 25-27) in a way that limits it to a venue that
primarily presents live theatrical, music, or dance performances, such as Strathmore, Black Rock, or Round House
Theater, and in staffs view would not cover a temporary performance area such as the site of downtown concerts in
Silver Spring, Bethesda, or Rockville. Those areas would
be
subject to the otherwise applicable noise limits and
could apply for waivers under the current law.
2
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disclosure be required to be included in homeowners' association and condominium documents
for developments near a performing arts facility.
This packet contains:
Bill 6-10
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal Impact Statement
Hearing testimony
Memo from Noise Control Advisory Board
Letter re concert noise
F:\LA W\BILLS\I 006 Noise· Performing Arts Facility\T &E Memo.Doc
Circle
#
1
6
7
9
13
15
3
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Bill No.
6-10
Concerning: Noise Control - Arts and
Entertainment Activities
Revised:
2-25-10
Draft No.
_1_
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)
(3)
(4)
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;
require certain notices to be given to certain potential homebuyers near certain arts
and entertainment activities; and
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
Chapter 40, Real Property
Section 40-12D
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double undedining
[[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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BILL No. 6-10
1
2
3
Sec.
1.
Sections 31B-2 and 31B-5 are amended, and Section 31B-6A is
added, as follows:
31B-2.
Definitions.
work, such as
~ ~
film, music, or dance.
[(a)]
[(b)]
[(c)]
[(d)]
[(e)]
[(f)]
[(g)]
[(i)]
(0)]
[(k)]
[(1)]
[em)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
23
24
[en)]
[(0)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
~
25
Performing arts facility
means
building, outdoor seasonal, temporary, or
~
26
27
permanent stage, or other clearly defined area or space, which is located at
that primarily presents live theatrical, musical, or dance performances.
venue
&
F:\LAw\BILLS\lOO6 Noise - Performing
Arts
Faci
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I006 Billl.Doc
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BILL
No. 6-10
28
[(P)]
29
30
31
32
33
34
[(q)]
[(r)]
res)]
let)]
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
3tB-5.
(a)
Noise level and noise disturbance violations.
Maximum allowable noise levels.
(1 )
35
36
Except as otherwise provided in Section 31B-6(a).\ 31B-6A, and
31 B-8, a person must not cause or permit noise levels that exceed
the following levels:
37
38
39
40
*
3tB-6A.
activities.
(ill
*
*
Seasonal noise level standard for qualifying arts and entertainment
~
41
42
If more than
performances of an outdoor
arts and entertainment
~
activity
will be conducted at
performing arts facility,
the owner or
~
43
44
45
manager of the
facility
may file
noise mitigation plan,
prepared
Qy
an acoustical engineer or consultant, with the Department. The
plan
must include:
46
47
48
ill
ill
ill
performance requirements;
the
and
information about the impact of the proposed
arts and
~
of noise mitigation measures that the facility will use;
49
50
51
52
entertainment activity
and the planned noise mitigation
measures on the performers, the audience, and the occupants of
nearby properties.
The Department must make each
plan
filed with
53
54
i1
available to the
public and send
~
£QPY
to the Noise Control Advisory Board.
&
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BILL No. 6-10
55
56
57
58
59
®
If the owner or manager of
£!
performing arts facility
submits
£!
completed
noise-mitigation plan
to the Department and conducts at
least
.2.
outdoor
arts and entertainment 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:
60
61
ill
ill
!£)
from
11
a.m.
to
11
p.m.
during April
1
through October 31,
75
62
63
dBA, as measured on the receiving property; and
at all other times, the maximum allowable noise level set in
Section 31B-5.
A person must not cause or permit noise levels from an outdoor
arts
64
65
66
67
68
and entertainment activity
which is subject to this Section to exceed
the standards in subsection (Q1
@
Any outdoor
arts and entertainment activity
subject to this Section
which meets the standards in subsection
ilil
must not be cited as causing
£!
noise disturbance.
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
ill
For
£!
performing arts facility
to remam m compliance with this
Section, its owner or manager must update its
noise mitigation plan
as
necessary to reflect significant changes in programming and noise
control technology, and must file an updated
plan
with the Department
not later than March
1.2.
each year.
Sec. 2. Section 40-12D is added as follows:
40-12D.
Disclosure of noise from certain arts and entertainment activities.
If any residential real property is located within 300 yards of
£!
ill
performing arts facility
where
.2.
or more outdoor
arts and
entertainment activities
which are subject to special noise level
standards under Section 31 B-6A have been conducted during the
80
81
-0-
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BILL
No. 6-10
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
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
~
£!:
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
£!:
separate section of the contract printed in boldface
£!:
clearly demarcated box, that:
~
in
90
91
ill
ill
the seller has provided the information required
Qy
subsection
W;.
and
the buyer understands that:
92
93
94
CA)
nearby property may be
£!:
source of periodic noise from
seasonal outdoor
arts and entertainment activities;
and
95
96
97
98
99
ill)
the buyer may obtain more information about noise limits
on these activities from the County Department of
Environmental Protection.
Approved:
100
Nancy Floreen, President, County Council
101
Date
Approved:
102
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
103
Date
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
104
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
Date
&
F:\LAW\BILLS\ I006 Noise - Perfonning
Arts
Facility\1006 Bill LDoc
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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 IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Class A
F:\LAW\B!LLS\l006 Noise· Performing Arts Facility\Legislative Request Report.Doc
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.
Beacb
Director
MEMORANDUM
March 17, 2010
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Nancy Floreen,
~:~
County Council
Joseph F.
Beach.~or
Council Bi1I 6-10, Noise Control-
Arts
and Entertainment Activities
The purpose ofthis memorandum is to transmit a fiscal and economic impact statement to
the Council on the subject legislation.
LEGISLATION SUMMARY
This bill
will
establish a "seasonal noise level standard" that exceeds otherwise applicable
noise standards for qua.litYing 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 ofEnvironmental Protection. The plan must specifY. among other things, the types ofnoise
mitigation measures
that
the facility will employ and the
impact
of the 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 ofa
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.
FISCAL AND ECONOMIC SUMMARY·
This legislation does not appear to have a fiscal impact on the County, although the exact
scope ofthe facilities affected is stilI to be detennined. The noise mitigation plan submitted by the owner
ofa performing
arts
facility will not require processing or approval by the Deparbnent of Environmental
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 Director
101
Monroe Street, 14th Floor • Rockville, Maryland
20850 • 240·777·2800
www.montgomerycountymd.gov
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Nancy Floroon, 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 seUers 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
of Environmental Protection; Mike Coveyou, Department ofFinance; 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 ofEnvironmental Protection
Mike Coveyou, Department of Finance
John Greiner, Office ofManagement and Budget
John Cuff, Office of Management and Budget
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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
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
pg2.
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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,"
~
GC,&;t
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 ofthe council, my name is Shelly Murray and
I
am the
2010 President for the Greater Capital Area Association ofREALTORS® ("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 Bil16-10.
REAL TORS® 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 SPRING, MD 20910-3737
PHONE 301.590.2000 • FAX 301.590.2248
REALTOR-
wwv".gcaar.com
EQUAL HOUSING
QPPORTUNlTY
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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;
• HOA/Condo docs - another way and an additional way would be to look into having this
notice included in the HOA/condo 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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mF
!OILL
(v
-/0
Cc
5eF
LL
'r"tL
057886
NOISE CONTROL ADVTSORY BOARD
MEMORANDUM
July 6,2010
TO:
Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council
JobnFuchs
Chair, Noise Control Advisory Board
Bill 6-10, 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 6-10 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 Elrich'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 of the 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 defInition 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 tenn "exempted residential" requires further defInition or clarifIcation as it
applies to this topic.
255 Rockville Pike, Suite 120 • Rockville, Maryland 20850-2589 • 240-777-7700
www.montgomerycountymd.gov
@J
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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 3lB of the Montgomery County Code to address the underlying issues
that introduction of Bill 6-1 0 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
5-5010
.LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Turn 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 Silver Spring. They drown out every attempt conversation until we get around the comer.
at conversation for
100
yards.
This Saturday there was a chess tournament
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 sound.
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
sound drowns out ambiance and any music imagine that it is within allowable decibel limits.
inside.
, If
it wasn't our own government sanctioning it,
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 fountain and
their children's safety. Employees should not have
to choose their jobs or their hearing.
I
like the music most of the time. However,
I'm
not 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 accountable 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 activity'?
'
.
Silver Spring
Andrea Chamblee,