Nightlife Wins One

The New York Nightlife Association has won significant concessions against the City Council which has been trying to impose noise ordinances on bars and clubs. At recent hearings, David Rabin of the NYNA and its lawyer Robert Bookman prevailed upon the city to amend the proposed revision of the law. Here's the note that they sent out:

Dear Friends,

For those of you who helped out and to your contacts who also did, a big THANK YOU...

Unbelievably, we actually were able to achieve most of our goals and convinced DEP  [Dept. of Environmental Protection] that the code as proposed was not you'll see below, we got significant revisions...a real "win" for us with the council.

The chair of this particular committee, Jim Gennaro, really struggled hard over this and was taken by many of our arguments, especially regarding the unfairness of "plainly audible." We are very grateful that DEP and the Administration listened and worked with us on this issue

The lesson for all of us, as Rob [Bookman] states below, is that if we actually SHOW UP, both in person and via email and calls, they just can't keep ignoring our thanks again and happy holidays, despite the strike

David Rabin

Bookman's statement after jump

Dear NYNA Member:
After days of negotiations, we have come to a welcomed compromise with  the Mayor and DEP over the new noise code. We have much to be proud of. We accomplished more than anyone thought we could. The new code reasonably balances residents rights to a peaceful night's sleep with our businesses rights to be fairly measured and inspected, with a new emphasis on compliance, not fines.

Here are the highlights.
1.The unacceptable "plainly audible" standard was removed. Music heard on the sidewalk -- for the first time ever -- must now be metered and tested at least 15' from your storefront.

2. The new proposed vibration standard was removed.

3. When readings are taken in residential units, the apartments must be LEGAL residences.

4. There is a new hardship application provision which will act as case by case grandfathering language. It will exempt establishments that can prove that compliance with the new code's standards cannot feasibly be met. It  will also cover zoning changes which brings new residential buildings into currently non-residential zones also making compliance unreasonable.

5. If inspectors arrive at busy times and want you to shut your sound system or a/c unit, you have the right to tell them to come back at a reasonable time.

6. The new proposal to make businesses jointly liable with other businesses for multiple roof a/c units has been deleted. You are only responsible for your  own units.

7. There is a cure provision for a first violation which allows you to  make corrections, sound proofing, etc, rather than pay a fine. This does not  exist in any other code nor does it exist in this code for any other  industry.

The Mayor and his people really met us more than half way. At the end of  the day, as a result of all of us fighting hard, writing letters and emails, making calls, showing up to the Council hearing and negotiating even  harder, we convinced the Council and the Mayor that we should be judged by objective, measurable standards.

This was our first legislative battle with our new Restaurant Associationco-members present at every meeting. It clearly had a big influence. This merger will be great for both our industries and has already demonstrated its value for  all of us.

All my best for a happy and prosperous holiday season.

Rob Bookman
Counsel, NYNA

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