Reshape Bellingham's Noise Ordinance sign now

Background/Summary:
The city of Bellingham has long been pushing for more residential units downtown, in hopes for an eco-friendly solution to urban sprawl. As a negative side effect, more and more residents are clashing with businesses over music-related "noise" in the downtown area.

Action Petitioned For:
We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens and music lovers who urge the city council to act now to alter the current noise ordinance to better serve both residents and businesses citywide, with particular attention to live music venues and nightclubs in the downtown area.


Immediate changes:

* Instate a "No Complaint No Ticket" policy immediately. Currently, an officer may cite someone even if no resident complained about the noise.

* Officers may give only one citation per violation, not multiple citations (e.g. for every tenant residing at the violating property).


Additional Changes:

* Create a downtown "arts and entertainment district," that would encompass current entertainment venues (some of which lie outside the "Central Business District." Quiet hours in the new district would be less strict than, for example, residential areas. Proposed quiet hours in the entertainment district: 2 a.m.-7 a.m. Quiet hours in residential areas: 10 p.m.-7 a.m.

* If a decibel limit is established in the entertainment district, it must be no lower than 85dB, measurable from the property line. B'DAMN's research demonstrates that this is the average volume of crowds gathered outside bars (smoking, etc.). Thus 85dB is the minimum volume standard to which entertainment venues can be held, since a lower volume would be impossible to measure separately from the people gathered on the public sidewalks. Because the decibel limit approach would cost the city money for equipment and staff, alternative solutions should be considered.

* Create a new time frame during which outdoor music is acceptable in the "entertainment district": until midnight on Thurs, Fri, Sat. and 11 p.m. other days.

* Set a new fine schedule for citations:

a. There must be one warning before every fine, to allow the violator to know there has been a complaint.
b. First violation starts at $100, up to $200, $300 etc., leading to $1,000 max in a three-month period of infractions. This brings Bellingham in line with Washington state code.

* Add a provision to ensure that the noise ordinance not be used as vengeful leverage (e.g. by someone who has been ejected from a nightclub). Suggestion: the caller must live or work within the same neighborhood as the complaint, or must remain on the scene until an officer arrives.

* Do NOT require new "music/entertainment" permits. This new process would cost the city substantially, and add to the already numerous restrictions and setbacks to operating a successful music venue in Bellingham. (i.e. fire sprinkler law, current noise ordinance, building permits, liquor licensing etc.)

* DO NOT create a "middle tier" for entertainment districts (p. 11 Noise Ordinance Issue Paper). This equates to discrimination against louder music, and an assumption that residents don't value louder music.


Future Changes:

* Create a task force to study the possibility and impacts of tougher construction codes, ESPECIALLY considering the potential impact noise issues could have on the new waterfront development.

* Study/ revise ventilation standards

* Require that the ordinance be reviewed regularly as the city grows and changes

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Latest Signatures

  • 13 December 2015200. Aaron A
    The music scene is one of the best things about Bellingham, and these changes to the noise ordinance are important and should be considered and approved. Music provides countless (sometimes immeasurable) benefits to a healthy and vibrant community. Zip Co
  • 07 December 2015199. Clarissa P
    I support this petition
  • 06 December 2015198. Jennifer S
    I support this petition
  • 27 November 2015197. Matt F
    I support this petition
  • 21 September 2015196. Elliot J
    I support this petition
  • 01 September 2015195. David O
    I support this petition
  • 16 August 2015194. Kevin L
    I support this petition
  • 11 August 2015193. Thadius K
    I support this petition
  • 26 June 2015192. Clayton M
    A vibrant downtown requires a sensible noise ordinance, Zip Code 98225
  • 28 May 2015191. Courtney P
    keep our music available for all! Zip Code 98225
  • 17 May 2015190. Colin F
    I support this petition
  • 13 May 2015189. Ian D
    I support this petition
  • 25 April 2015188. Amelia Kb
    I support this petition
  • 27 February 2015187. Larry G
    I support this petition
  • 20 February 2015186. Erin T
    I support this petition
  • 05 November 2014185. Ryan S
    К Zip Code 98027
  • 01 November 2014184. Craig J
    I support this petition
  • 04 October 2014183. Ian C
    Bellingham's downtown is its cultural hub. By imposing restrictions to its excellent art scene, it will destroy a lot of what makes Bellingham so attractive to the people that visit and live here. Zip Code 98225
  • 19 August 2014182. Scott M
    I support this petition
  • 07 August 2014181. Scott A
    I support this petition
  • 04 August 2014180. Riley B
    I support this petition
  • 23 June 2014179. Casey C
    I support this petition
  • 25 May 2014178. Sheana S
    I support this petition
  • 24 May 2014177. Tara N
    Music makes Bellingham liveable. Zip Code 98225
  • 23 April 2014176. Mike C
    I support this petition
  • 17 April 2014175. Ryan G
    I support this petition
  • 13 April 2014174. Anna H
    I support this petition

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Information

Autumn LarsenBy:
AnimalsIn:
Petition target:
Bellingham City Council

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