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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sound Level and Residential Law

posted by on October 15 at 15:02 PM

This in from J:

Smurf1.jpgFor nearly a year, my bands have been practicing in my living room in the Fremont neighborhood. Yesterday some poor fool plopped down the $495,000 needed to buy the cracker box shaped town home next door.

What are my options? We practice twice a week. We’re always finished before 10 PM We’re not THAT loud, in fact standing on the street in front of the house you can hear the drums, but it doesn’t sound much louder than a stereo.

What are the laws concerning decibel levels and the cutoff time for noise complaints?

I’m hoping nothing happens and no one complains, but should they decide to raise a stink what can I tell them and how can I deal should the cops be called.

Initial thoughts are that if they aren’t that loud and they’re finished by 10, they should be OK. If the police are called, they will come by to give a warning before anything. But that means that the police will be coming by. Always use “Sir” and “Ma’am” when dealing with the police.

Another option is to put on tighty-whities, cover yourselves in Vaseline, stand on the edge of the neighbor’s yard, and play with Smurfs.

King County Noise Ordinance

Seattle Municipal Code - Noise Control

Disturbing the Peace

RSS icon Comments


Fremont's a problem. It's better to live in a neighborhood where the cops don't show up for noise complaints.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 15, 2008 3:38 PM

How about growing a pair, walking over to the neighbors' house (you could bring a bottle of wine if you wanna be real classy), and saying "Hey, welcome to the neighborhood. Great to have you. I just wanted to let you know that my band practices in my living room a couple times a week. We're not too loud, and we're always done by 10, but if there's ever a problem, just come let me know, or give me a call."

Posted by Levislade | October 15, 2008 4:40 PM

You could practice with electronic drums, controlling the level with a mixer, so it actually is qas loud as your stereo. Other then that just wait and see.

Going to their house first has never worked in my experience, but you could try it, trouble is if they give you the stink eye, you could be looking at call the the cops sooner than if you didn't approach first.

Posted by drheavy | October 15, 2008 4:50 PM

#2 = the win

Posted by cosby | October 15, 2008 4:51 PM

Here's one idea: when the neighbors move in, walk over and talk to them about it.

I've been in situations where all it took to keep the peace with new neighbors was a simple conversation where you explain what days you practice, what times you practice on those days, and that you're committed to being finished by 10 PM because that's the law. It can mean the difference between a neighbor coming over to politely remind you that it's after 10 PM and a couple of cops banging on your door to issue a warning/fine because you're too noisy too late.

Posted by Hernandez | October 15, 2008 4:54 PM

Whoops, #2 beat me to the punch.

Posted by Hernandez | October 15, 2008 4:56 PM

Smurfs are always the answer.

Tell them to Smurf up or Smurf off.

Posted by Dave | October 15, 2008 5:29 PM

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