Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Again, concert noise from arena penetrates nearby residences; zoning override does not appear to include noise laws

It's an unanticipated impact of Barclays Center operations: a concert venue that leaks noise and bass so it can be heard and felt by neighbors. I reported yesterday about neighborhood complaints, and even heard/felt it myself, albeit from the street.

Three more incident reports on Atlantic Yards Watch, posted last night, repeat those concerns. One resident on Dean Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues reported:
The concert last night was clearly audible from inside my apartment, even with the windows closed.
Another resident, on Dean between Flatbush and Fifth avenues, reported:
For the second consecutive night the bass and music from the concert was audible inside of our apartment. Despite an email from the community affairs manager stating that they were investigating what caused the noise last night, there is no improvement. This is so frustrating and disheartening, yet I'm hardly surprised.
I'll query arena operators, as well, and report back any response. It would be appropriate for them to be proactive on this matter, but, then again, a fix might not be easy: they can't exactly install more noise-muffling panels overnight, but they don't want to turn down the volume on a Jay-Z concert.

Zoning override for noise? No

Lawyer George Locker (involved in previous Atlantic Yards cases, representing renters) commented:
I have litigated noise cases. I believe that the sound levels from Barclays Center are subject to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection Noise Code, with respect to commercial music. I do not believe that the zoning override to build the place also overrides current NYC Noise Laws. That has to be checked.
...Noise in excess of lawful limits can be enjoined in court. Under law, excess noise is a tort called nuisance.
According to the 2009 Modified General Project Plan approved by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project, there's significant "Local Regulation Override" (p. 42) but no mention of noise. Those overrided include:
  • Use Regulations
  • floor area and open space regulations
  • height and setback controls
  • minimum distance between buildings on a single zoning lot 
  • signage regulations
  • parking regulations
  • loading requirements for commercial uses
  • Zoning Resolution special permit requirements to allow for a platform over or within a railroad right of way or transit air space to be included within a zoning  lot and used for development. 
  • land use controls of the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Area as they relate to Site 5 and Site 6A
  • the restriction on the use of streets... as it relates to Pacific Street between Flatbush and 6th Avenues, 5th Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues and an area underneath 6th Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street. 

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