WWL>Topics>>1-20-14 1:10pm Angela: on the French Quarter noise ordinance

1-20-14 1:10pm Angela: on the French Quarter noise ordinance

Jan 20, 2014|

Angela talks about the ongoing debate over a modified noise ordinance for the French Quarter. The panel includes Nathan Chapman, Meg Lousteau, David Woolworth, Robert Waters, and Chris Young.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well I hope you're enjoying a beautiful day in it is absolutely spectacular. And our thoughts are on Martin Luther King a giant among men. But we have a very very important topic to discuss run off the best. In our first hour. If you wanna hear some loud noise listen to those who are for and against a proposed noise ordinance soon to be before the City Council. To say it's controversial. Is an understatement. Noise issues seem to have been a topic for ever. And it may well be postponed again until after the election. But it is a topic that truly needs to be discussed. And we have just the right people to do. Joining us is Nathan Chapman chair of the multi neighborhood coalition on sound he is for the ordinance. Medalists. Executive director of The -- cori property owners residents & Associates. By phone we'll be joined shortly by David -- -- who is Oxford acoustic who did the noise study in the quarter. Robert waters recurring chair French Quarter business association he is against the ordinance. And Chris Young. Lawyer and lobbyist for numerous businesses on urban street against the -- and noise ordinance as it is written. I wanna say how much I appreciate you while coming in here that said it before but I sincerely mean it one it is a holiday. Not -- this is a difficult subject but I think that for regular people who don't live in the French Quarter. We need to learn about it so this is your responsibility. And again thank you very very much. I'd like to know from. From all of the were some of -- why this has become such a contentious issue. I think people are passionate about the city you know in the should be and you know that's a good thing. I I do think that. There was confusion and that's unfortunate. And -- street get player to -- the City Council has now asked sister do -- a reboot. To focus now just on -- street. And I know I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation but in a much -- airway and hope it's gonna be more productive next time okay. And and thanks ravenous. Because of this is an important issue it's certainly important to my clients and I know it's important to residents of the French Quarter. Which a coincidental I'm one as well. I think what would. Aggravated people so especially with regard to this particular proposal was the way in which it was introduced -- handled. And I don't mean to suggest to imply that it was illegal on ethical could certainly it wasn't. But the process that was invoked to a together on the table you know right before Christmas right before holiday what it once sort of had our eye off the ball. I think that had a lot to do with the aggravation and come on the push back that you're experiencing now community. We have -- noise ordinance for this entire community. Do is separate from the French Quarter. Yes -- get into this is necklace or from DC -- there is -- has been and the sound ordinance to regulate sound levels in the entire city. And the limits are generally based on the time of day either you know at 7 AM to 10 PM or 10 PM to 7 AM and on the zoning district in which you find yourself residential business. Industrial. View creator -- district they'll have different elements. Okay. So this is so what was it brought up to change. Well what we we had made a proposal. That we feel on number our waters from the record business associate. That we feel was crafted by a very small group of people who weren't in fact representative of a lot of never put organizations at all. And they started off with a very generic. Seven essential proposal that that they crafted and then they ran around after their craft that and try to get other people to sign onto it. And then they they persuaded. Council member had. To turn parts of it into an ordinance and it introduced very abruptly and in from the business perspective. None of the business organizations. Were involved in anyway. In crafting this proposal that would have had a very significant effect on business and it was. Both the procedural method of going about -- that everybody took them violent objection to. And the substantial provisions as well some of the sub standard provisions. Came out of their own imaginations. The city had spent quite a bit of money. Having a report done by Oxford acoustics. The fellow who true that final ordinance we understand -- even read the report. And so he submitted this thing. That that in many ways differed from the report without any opportunity for any group to. Participate. In an open and transparent process to craft something that would get peace agreement of the business community. That's what we objected to. -- it's until there's a lot in that. Anderson this is Nathan Chapman and I guess I was there from the beginning of this process. In fact I've been working on Townsend always issues for about 25 years ahead to move myself because of noise from urban street. And you know I think it's only meetings over the years a lot of and called by the city or we decided wants was a home. We wanted to to talk -- -- herself to put pour some ideas to be considered by the city I've just been to -- meetings. Where is typically bar owners you know they just that you shoot down anything you say -- you can't. That they they seemed so committed to the status quo you can't ever make any progress. So we brought together a group of citizens around the city -- puts forth some ideas. We almost expected they'd be you know up for public comment and debate and amendment sets that's our process and should be. But it you know we were just trying to do good things here and we look -- of accomplishing something that the the next step. You know on Friday. There was a whole group of musicians who arrived at city hall and and it and that it was the sense. To the outsider was that this. Looked like it was -- to really threaten our so called musical culture where did that come here. What they did feel threatened in and I feel bad about that in and in you know I respect him for that. We worked that those of us who work on this -- -- record not to. Take on or a mess with our -- performance culture and in musicians boat that was not our goal is. The thing that you talk about the seven -- him it was presented. Nothing nothing was going to affect the street reform nothing we -- we in the world that they think. Well is that accurate though it. Well as I think it was actually an accurate because what it affected with the performance community. And in fact there are many musicians. And trauma ensure -- and example. The start off working in the streets turn off the street performers and then graduate to nightclub gigs and then they graduate to a recording career. And the fact is that that those performers. Felt that this was an assault on their cultural economy. And and you know that that the cultural economy in this city. Provides we understand 30%. -- our total government revenues. And and this is the prime motivating. Factor in advertise in this city to tourists across America and the world. Our cultural economy so when you mess with it. You activate a lot of people's emotions because they see their very career and these are dedicated musicians. Threatened and that's what happened. Here are just like take clarify something am I think this is an example of how things have gotten misconstrued. Nothing in the seven central's that we percent it had any bearing on street performers that was something that we absolutely did not touch. And I can certainly agree with these statistics on our cultural tourism and it sort of went out that there are a lot of elements to that and the neighborhoods are huge part of that and the people who live in the French Quarter and give it. It's authenticity which is always touted as few reasons have successful. Are huge part of a cultural tourism factor. And we need to make sure that all elements of our culture are are treated fairly. We're gonna frame it as do we when a killer music I'm standing with an -- out you know none of us wanted to do that. But I'm hoping. Particularly to come to this next part about urban street. There's a lot in the -- recommendations that we like we're not a 100% there I think we sit down and have. Reason detailed conversations we can get to replace with an Angel that's the business community's biggest. First our opposition to the well again the process for the -- the substance of the ordinance is that they were not part of the process. -- -- these businesses who we're gonna be directly impacted by this proposed ordinance. Or any subsequent proposed ordinance they were just completely left out of the loop on all of the actual substance of the proposal that's -- big Susan. What are outside I don't agree with what I went to the committee. Of the organization today Robert cheers. I don't know. If you know I think is important to disclose he's an owner -- perverse streak club. And I choose to clubs but thank you -- and life. I just felt totally shut down it wasn't productive dialogue but I went there this summer you know way back and so on. You know cannot -- a dialogue -- Nathan did come to us actually came to Robert myself. And we had nothing to meetings regarding -- seven central's and we and we said hey this is not gonna work. We feel enforcement needs to be addressed before any changes to the ordinance or even considered. So yes they did come to us we talked to we told -- no. So apparently he didn't like it too which I understand and then -- they museum I'd say he bit that group the opposition if you will. Of the proponents of a new -- ordinance proceeded and they have every right to do that but we're against it. And I also wanna make something -- I I own a couple of businesses on Burma street we don't live entertainment but nonetheless on a couple of businesses -- -- I'm a vice president of the French Quarter business association which represents 300 businesses in the French Quarter. I'm also the chair of the French Quarter management district. And the French Quarter management district is a state entity were created by the state Louisiana. We have thirteen commissioners. Appointed from every segment who -- stakeholders in the French Quarter and we formed a government committee. And we have very balanced membership on the committee we have a lot of rep of residential representation. And business representation. And in fact we have made sure that committee that our representation is probably 50% residential 50% business. And so when Nathan made his appeal before them I don't want anybody to get the impression. That this was a group of business people who were speaking and you know opposition I think we listened very respectfully. But residential elements as well as business elements. Had a lot of problem with a seven essentials. We felt that the -- report which is about eighty pages. Was the first good analysis of our soundscape the seven essentials are presented on one page and they were grossly simplistic. You know we're gonna do and take a quick break and we're gonna come back and word to describe what the south and Central Park Friday after this I'm Angela on WW. We are talking about the noise ordinance. That's been going back and forth just be a big meeting on Friday it was canceled the City Council. And it again I'm learning a lot this is very important it is a very important to this overall city. Very important to the French Quarter but we need to pay attention to what's going on and I think that's the messenger on here. Let's start again let me introduce a very quickly. Those we have in the studio they -- Chapman who share of the multi night -- neighborhood coalition. Who is for you sound ordinance again we have one but this is a reworked once. Meg -- style executive director of the great property owners residents & Associates. Robert waters recurring -- French Quarter this is association he is against the ordinance as is Chris Young who was a lawyer and lobbyist for numerous. Businesses on urban street. OK and we also have missed with a we're gonna get this segment first up. Let's go back to. What does. The group foolish for the noise ordinance watch what you want. With this point we. Kinda like to ideas that the counselors passes to narrow we focus on there were focus on on urban street errant. It one of our seven items -- -- retreat points out that the way the law is now there's absolutely no maximum there as long as. One club is not more than ten decibels louder than the next one. They're okay you know within the law and so you get these noise wars were each one it's like outer outer outer and they're just needs to be capped at some point. And it changed the way that we measure. Missed warts calls for the senate report go over to the club. Currently we actually most often the police going to people's homes or stand on their Stoops and -- from there. So those are the two big things a maximum for urban street and that we measure over at the club okay. What why are you against. Our our I think I need to clarify that as it would not against the noise ordinance were not against the enforcement of the car when in fact that's exactly what we propose in lieu of pass and a new ordinance is trying to enforce the car when there's absolutely no enforcement of the corn -- assortment. So we don't see why you would change something that's possibly enforceable and possibly will do the trick in other words the trick being. Reducing the noise level in people's homes who live. On the border of these areas were discussing to -- not against the noise ordinance we -- proposing that the car when being forced hesitant and forced about it. You have to direct better than I think that in the asserted in the world's that the answer is the answer there and part. Is that that. Fifteen years ago the city moved enforcement from the Health Department to NO PD. And a PD as we know is perpetually undermanned but we're task. They simply don't have the resources in terms of the urgent issues that they face on a daily basis to devote resources to sound. And so therefore the into the big movement has been let's get enforcement. Back into the Health Department let's get it funded and let's start efforts now. The Oxford acoustic report I think devoted something like thirteen pages to defining what good enforcement looks like. In the French Quarter management district government committee. Has spent six months reviewing those proposals in crafting our own five page summary of what good enforcement looks like. A rational position is let's get enforcement established in the business community agrees with this. And then see what the problems are let the sound administrator define problems like this rule doesn't work. It needs to be changed and then we'll have a sensible based system. -- but conversations like this make me feel like there's a commitment to the status quo. We know that the ordinance is flawed we need to both do that and too good enforcement were were all for good enforcement and we're. One of moving this to the Health Department it is one of the things that in our seven lists and it's happening we're excited about that you know. But right now even within the law you know the clubs there's no maximum we we need to think. Create that in right now when he called the police to come to your home to see if you have a right to complain. Consider going to see the horse too -- or not and who the (%expletive) could there is a maximum Nathan you would say. You may not like the -- but this certainly is a maximum in the law now above ambient. Correct hit ten above -- -- to an affinity so so there's a maximum so they I would say I -- -- but you have to include ambient in the in the formula all the wise you know captured all the new always on Bourbon Street the noise made by just people walking down the street. But the act which -- -- -- hundred castles simply in the street from outdoors. But the practical result is that there is no cap. And and there have been legal challenges on this matter and so that's something that we try to rectify why do you think that there will be enforcement of any change if they haven't enforced what exit. That's our question. Will it make sense to us to start with. Get a better ordinance in work on enforcement and they'll go to the judges if we need to you know practicing ecological sequencing to split -- -- right. No no good laws without enforcement will work so we all agree on that. -- -- that's our position from the business community side is pleased to enforce the -- if it's revealed after that -- that there is a flaw in the current ordinance. We will support. A new ordinance but until you can determining convince us that this one is not enforceable why past and knew what. It's just window dressings to make everybody feel good. And everyone's gonna go home orders of the same problem we want to resolve this problem and natural ever convince you Chris we welcome that day. I know that that you said that you are part of this organization that sort of 5050 residential and business. As -- that. Do you think that you and your understanding of that delicate balance that's constantly you don't need it. And and I take the I truly believe that if we do not have a strong and vibrant residential culture in the French Quarter. We will all suffer for I believe that the the residential community is precious to the French Quarter. And I believe their under attack and have been under attack for decades. And I I see that one of the purposes other French Quarter management district is to protect that residential heritage -- strengthening. And I think that there phenomenal number of initiatives that we started that will make it a better place to live. And and I think that that when we have. Splinter groups. Going after extreme positions that this harms the entire effort and I think that's what we've seen the -- the coalition the Nathan refers to. There's a group of thirteen people. Eight of whom. Are either present or former VC -- remembers. Two of whom belong Robert any worse and Robert Robert Robert Plant and and we have one from the French Quarter marry me district. And we have one from the warehouse district. The French Quarter -- any repudiated. The entire effort. You know fortunately by Angela -- get a little too in the weeks and I'd be happy to do this -- you know a bit more time it. I think it's more important part you know groups like. That would net and folks on on French Quarter right now you know groups like BC -- French Quarter citizens be sportsman rapper 75 years. That's the launch with a long history protecting the French Quarter we wouldn't have a tourism industry if it wasn't for groups like that that's the ones that I would look to leadership. Like that's OK you -- unfortunately didn't have to take another break when we come back. We will talk to date -- -- who did the sound study so please stay with us now let's go to Chris Miller in the -- We are talking again about the noise ordinance and the people who feel passionately on both sides. We're now joined by David Woolworth's who has Oxford acoustics he did the -- study in the French Quarter. And that David thank you very much for joining us really able to hear our discussion. Earlier. Yeah. And don't think we're having me. And it's announced. Like an exciting time here today. It's always exciting and wonderful people who Gary deal. But right one is can new and now we're fighting the clock here and you give me. The -- world. And eighty pages what you found in your -- You know thank you for as I think. I think what what occurred. Or after after really looking at a recited -- sound management program was needed. Driven by the Health Department preferably. And it would. Start collecting information and start educating people and start determining. How to. Again enforcement done. Fairly. That was sort of the idea. And then it provided a -- evidence they. Recommendations. To determine. How to -- the laws. To. Hopefully gets. The right levels in place to provide all this is a relief the first. Part was to try to get. Into Bourbon Street and take a look at what was going on there and so recommendations were made. But that's that would be generally how were we were looking. Okay let me -- on just urban street. -- is they're too much noise. Well there's times -- stated that and I think overall people would agree it's it's very loud one of the things in it was a concern was that. Safety. In the case of emergencies to let me hear your radio. For police and so that was like that's an easy one understands. And Lidstrom but you have to delineate between elections inside the club personnel that is in the street. And there's ways to keep it left in the club and still have a street it's a very vibrant. But. I'm not that -- And so I think that's sort of the sections that are actually. World -- I -- I'm Mort I think we're reasonable. Because everybody is different constant but I think it's. That the ideas and an affront it is to come to an agreement. And also initially provide. Relief. To the people who knows a lot of people -- legitimate complaint but there's also ways to. Make the book makes see what's called the entertainment. Mistreatment keep it quite alive. And keep it and sometimes as close -- one inside but it would somehow provides relief from the outside. Dave thank you stay with this we're gonna take another break we'll be right back and we're gonna continue our discussion about. How much noises too much noise right after that I feel like I need a Ph.D. in -- -- of ordinance it's a very complex issue. Dave -- Werth who did the actual -- study had some questions. Yes davis' Chris -- know representing the business community on Bourbon Street. Are we view our -- you the point person for the city at least in the context of this report. Were you consulted. When this latest proposed ordinance was drafted. Yes. -- resolve this commission you do critique. And that's of finishing it up released today. I mean it'll be sent and so I guess that'll be. Publicly available but we we focus now walks. We were first we looked at the end of the law itself. And and you know the test is evaluated but also because it's -- -- with people from the city. From the City Council. And what happened was I think. Well what happened was there was an eye opener and numbers we just -- Needed to between -- you know hopefully go that route for look at this this is -- Sorry that the numbers were a little little higher on the street and and but the thing once and we were talking back to normal activity. So -- ambient noise and right just has so I think. What's coming out of this and you'll see that is that. Maybe this is a little premature to be changing. Levels before we really have some numbers. And things change seasonally and they changed -- comet -- that we understand it better before we start putting numbers down and and trying to. I'll put that through but I think that it was a it was a very valuable because. Accounts of people work. Learn something from that and this makes his comeback and involve communities directly. You have inefficiencies directly and we're hoping missing from this they could move. Forward to the -- he exclusively. Burma street and actually -- some field tests. With the cooperation entire street. David Bruton it's my original question was were you consult directly prior to the introduction of this latest ordnance that was just withdraw on Friday -- are now. -- hate it when I'm looking forward to is particularly when we focused on urban street and feeling like. The ideas that we or feeling much lining up through -- I think we need to sit down we have a sound expert we'd like to talk with -- work out the details. But we know that you were big proponent of moving pro active enforcement to Health Department you know right on urban street you want to talk about. Measuring at the property instead of open people's homes you know that we should start measuring the low frequency but vibrations -- That we QCU. That would be great. Even the number 85 although UN -- slightly different we're thinking but we think there's may be room in the middle so. Anyway -- can we have you sit down with our sound person was just work -- on the details and we more complicated in the audience here today wants to. Right yeah I think it's easy Darnell. I've called them up but I think there's some legal things going on a professor from. Talking straight will work it out so if we can that would be that would be dynamite because. There's that -- potentially have a weapon but I think the other part is armed nation that. -- I think we really really need again this whole thing about Al walks because. They they tell us salute the best so everybody can be perceived discount and then they put numbers to -- in the -- find out that the numbers. And the sounds. You know you -- -- from an unpleasant and knowing in the sound levels low that something that you like my behind and that becomes a problem because there's things we have we have to. Further review of this kids. Pretty complex but there's ways for community is. Still look at that information go OK it's OK we we don't mind these things we want peace seems to be. Inside this you know ballpark would look. -- I look forward on those with cute. I don't -- -- when I'm just the outsider looking in but it just seems to me everything you all are saying is you'll have to get together if you do the sound walks together. Then you learn from each other and on your responses to them. That there is a problem even you have agreed there is too much sound. And you want you don't want to mess stuff. And I I think that that -- our political process we have to have a little bit political leadership here. And and I'd like to commend -- council member LaToya Cantrell she did a superb job. It in terms of moderating that the meeting that occurred on Friday with the musicians. And and I think that that getting LaToya involved as a moderation seems to to be extraordinary sense we'll have a good head on her shoulders. And I think -- getting her involved. In terms of bringing people together. Might be a valuable thing to accomplish. That this may be a good time that's Nathan and meg as -- if it's okay on the air if they be willing to participate in the task force of some sort to get drilled down to the exact. Elements of -- what order it's a good order and would look like. You know I definitely want to sit down with with even more people but not one more task force where people are committed to the status quo you know. On what we need to make some common sense incremental improvements -- -- all open to change absolutely reserves. I mean it that the first changes and -- it and one point I wanna make very quickly in 2012. We had the first change in the noise ordinance or fifteen years. And that change which was placement speakers in the direction speakers. Came from an initiative out of urban street. In those suburban street people who start the proposal and who signed through who has been there. And that change came round up from Bourbon Street -- people remember that because it's important thing. Where non interest in the status quo. We are ready to see change you didn't oppose and in the in the tournament we have to opposed the the at the end it was a process. Where they they outlawed all outdoor speakers that is unconstitutional. And and that is clearly has meant for it can't enforce its unconstitutional. That was when I said we should not have amended what we proposed to include that. Because -- unconstitutional. We we do have a caller we can go to our caller. Carol. I don't look here yet. I'll hide that Carol all the pleasure I know everybody in the room Angela. And I did work on the -- essential and -- expert when it thank you very much for having an opportunity shared that with the community because it is -- they're important. I mean I'm to make a comment not about the potential target art into the process. I've just returned from parents and parents doing something and I think experience is being a column. They are not complaint driven so much in -- sound ordinance. Clubs -- sound meter on their doors. And they self police went -- eleven is relentless that you're the leader goes beyond the clubs with the music on. And as we know terrorists apartments are all in saint built into clubs dark clouds were on the ground level. And I think the debate -- -- discussion I'm listening to you today. It's really about the guys in bad -- charm bar owners don't hear how loud the noise it. Sound go within the rules we had no problems with Irvin mayfield club we have no problems. Not harbor on Frenchman each show it just seems to me that if we can all come to an agreement. That we need to have the bad actor in the community felt -- and get in line with the rest of the group. We would be along on the road on this. Thing. And I where Carol. They'll we we agree that our self regulation that could be very helpful here and in could accomplish something. Again though we're a situation where nobody knows exactly what the rules -- it's a moving target. Especially when we have proposals like the proposal -- that was just withdrawn. It's hard for us to focus on a solution when. There's a constant moving talking about what the rules are going to be within -- and air and I mean self enforcement doesn't work you know vacuum. Self enforcement as we are. They sound management plan funded by the CD with personnel and then I think I missed the Woolworth addresses of the enforcement issue and his report. There I wanted to I'm sorry -- -- Dana points or something and Chris actually agree with you there are some things that you might consider moving targets. We went -- that was the reason we ask for some verification lines and actually Carroll says I think there -- examples not just all over the country but all over the world. Of cities that have. All these kinds of uses and close proximity to have clubs restaurants residences retail galleries. Everything you can imagine. And it's because they have regulations that allowed to continue at that prohibit. One uses bad behavior from driving out other uses and that's really the only goal here we want the French Quarter to stay. A very mixed use vibrant neighborhood with all those pieces intact stay with us we'll be right. So much to learn about this noise ordinance and we're gonna hear a lot more right now invite everybody back because I know this is an ongoing discussion. Annual have been terrific I wanted to start with David -- -- your final thoughts. On what you think and what you've learned from your stat. Atlanta that does -- a couple things one is well. That's a little left would -- easily but -- suggests that people have time to read it I find that not every read things and they don't misunderstand. Part of is that open discussion of what all is. And in sort of mr. young earlier. It's task force we do -- the -- -- working group that has been reviewing things. And one of our last means September we decided. We knew that we thought there would be good idea of take a report piece by piece and look at it understands so they can -- information the community better. And and so you should know the Health Department is in the process guard people. I've met with them and they're ready to move ahead but they know there's some red tape with the civil service. And and so the progress -- music Perelman talked about with the Europeans. Approaches. Some of that has included in the report and and if Carol wants to take me prepare notes and competitors. It -- -- -- everybody goes. And but but all the same and that's what we learned we were certainly -- past. It would be you be great to them. Great to keep going this route and one piece -- the times sort of way I think in the. Thank you know David very very much we have about one that really -- -- well we don't we don't need to rush to judgment in terms of making ordinance changes very quickly in a week or two's time. We need enforcement we need the enforcement arm to get there and get it done. But we need to make things better but -- the marketing consultant urban streets are most famous brand how many of -- say you know we don't send our guests there -- that we can make it a little bit better. Think OK I think all of you we will have you back and we'll just continue to watch this and listen. Thank you so much please join us again for our next hour we're going to be talking about manners now let's go to Chris Miller in the near term.