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2009-06-08 (0 comments)

It's who you know...

...around here. Well, I'm happy to say we made it through rehearsal tonight without police citation, arrest, or even neighborly complaints.

But I did some legwork first. Last night, Rachnid and I visited an old friend of his - in fact, the 2nd guitarist in the oldies band he was in, back in high school. The guy happens to be Captain in the local police force now. He'd actually attended a rehearsal a couple months back, and is recording a demo of songs that he wrote at the Secret Lab. His advice was to go into Harahan City Hall and see the mayor. Which is precisely what I did. (for those of you reading this outside of Louisiana, we're not based in New Orleans proper, but rather an incorporated suburb of the city near the riverbend. Hence the 'small town' politics.)

Mayor Paul Johnston turned out to be a really nice guy, and was quite willing to listen to my rebuttal to the accusations. After telling me that the noise ordinances don't really take effect before 10pm anyway, he tried to get the guy who wrote the letter on the phone, but that fellow was out 'enforcing codes'. So I invited him to stop by rehearsal and hear for himself whether we were in violation of any laws or statues.

Which to my knowledge he didn't, but I did take the opportunity to borrow an SPL meter from work and take some readings. Noise of traffic in front of my house: ~70db. Noise of dogs next door: ~82db. Sound level inside the Secret Lab during rehearsal: ~105db. Sound level outside the Secret Lab during rehearsal: ~76db.

Fingers crossed, but I think we're in the clear! More news on this IF it develops... but for now, my attention can go back to the show coming up this next weekend (and to my continuing research in replacing the 20 year old back-screen Amiga computer - almost got all the kinks worked out of the replacement software/hardware.)

2009-06-06 (0 comments)

My response to the previous...

Thanks for all the good wishes everyone! I'm not taking this lying down. Here's my response to the letter from the city (see previous post.)

Dear sirs,

Having read the letter of complaint dated June 2, 2009, I have the following comments:

I have never resisted when asked to lower the volume of music at my home. However, it has been three years since a policeman visited to request the cessation of noise. The insulation in my home and garage walls is sufficient to keep my immediate neighbors from being bothered (yes, I asked.) Additionally, I have not been practicing music on a 'weekend' as described in the letter. My rehearsals have been confined to Monday nights between 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Perhaps the radio by my right-hand neighbor's poolside, or the other band which sometimes rehearses further up Huntly St. led to this confusion. But weekend disturbances were not my doing, and I resent being scapegoated.

A 'maximum permissible sound level' is mentioned but not delineated. What is the maximum sound pressure level permitted for the 'receiving land use category in Table 1'? As an audio hobbyist, I am very aware of the scientific measurement of sound pressure levels and can easily keep within permissible limits - if they are specified.

Please furnish me with figures to help me to comply with your request in a reasonable manner. Flatly telling me that I cannot practice music in my own home is NOT reasonable! Zoning doesn't dictate what I can or cannot do in the privacy of my home, especially given that music is a hobby to me, not a business. However, I am sensitive to noise complaints, would like to be a 'good neighbor' and am certainly willing to comply with the limits of the law, if you furnish the proper information on those limits.

P.S.: I did not receive any 'letter dated May 8, 2009' regarding this matter. To which address was that letter sent?



My brother-in-law, who is an attorney, has told me that the letter was proper and respectful, BUT to wait to mail it until he has a word with a couple people... more news on this as it develops...

2009-06-05 (0 comments)

What is this?!

So, I pick up this certified mail from the post office today, and this is what it says:

No decibels cited, no sign of who lodged the complaint, a reference to a previous noise complaint that I never received... this is bullshit. I particularly love the part about my place not being zoned for a band to rehearse in. We don't even go past 10pm. And no police have come by to ask us to turn in down in over three years!

You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, and you DON'T tell Dr. Pinkerton "Silence"! In the immortal words of B. Bunny, "Of course you know, this means war..."

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