Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
COUNCIL UPDATES NOISE ORDINANCE
Changes will better address loud amplified music from nightclubs
SEATTLE —The Council voted today to update the City’s Noise Ordinance to better address overly loud amplified music coming from nightclubs. The new code establishes a graduated set of financial penalties for clubs that violate a to-be-determined noise threshold.
Councilmember Sally J. Clark led the Council’s work on noise related to bars and clubs. “The goal of the fines is to get clubs to keep the volume at a reasonable level,” Councilmember Clark said. “We’re not trying to close anyone down. The best result of this legislation would be that no clubs violate the noise threshold and the City never has to fine anyone.”
Clubs will receive a warning followed by a $1,000 citation for the first violation, and a $2,000 citation for each subsequent violation within 365 days of the first violation. The funds for the first violation could be used by the establishment to reorient speakers, replace windows or other noise-dampening actions. The City will provide technical assistance on lessening noise.
“This change modernizes our Code and helps us react better in dense neighborhoods where bars and apartments and condos need to be able to live together,” Councilmember Clark explained.
In related legislation, last week the Council created a Nightlife Advisory Board to advise the Council on nightlife issues. The board will be made up of representatives from the nightlife industry, citizen neighbors, a noise expert, enforcement expert and liquor-control expert. One of the first assignments for the board will be to make recommendations to the Council and the Department of Planning and Development regarding the noise threshold and enforcement rules. The Council will seek nominations to the new board in January.
“Seattle’s noise ordinance needs to be overhauled,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. “I receive complaints about gasoline-powered leaf blowers, garbage trucks and Metro buses. This change for noise violations at nightclubs is a start in our upcoming efforts to strengthen our noise ordinance.”