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AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - May 29, 2014

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Summary

On May 29, 2014, the Pacific Northwest Section of the AES held a section meeting hosted by the Shoreline Community College Audio Production department. The title of the presentation was "Noise Regulations: Is it Noise or Is It Music?"

Seth Tomlinson, INCE, Acoustician with The Greenbusch Group in Seattle spoke about the regulatory process, how local jurisdictions create and enforce noise regulations and how complaints are investigated and substantiated or disproved. About 18 attendees including 11 AES members attended the presentation.

Seth noted that most state noise ordinances in place today are modeled after the US Noise Control Act of 1972, widely referred to as NCA 72. Other agencies, including EPA, FAA, Department of Defense and the Federal Highway Administration also issued guidelines or standards in the years following the enactment of NCA 72. Most local ordinances, while still based loosely on NCA 72, are poorly written and difficult to follow for both those seeking to comply, and those seeking to enforce. The current enforcement agent for Washington State is the Department of Energy, which is not funded for noise enforcement, nor do they have expertise in this area on their staff. This leaves local jurisdictions free to enact whatever rules they come up with, and most often these are "nuisance" ordinances. Several individuals in the audience noted specific experiences with noise complaints based on these local ordinances, and the uneven response of the local jurisdiction to the complaints. It was clear that those charged with enforcement don't really have the expertise to investigate and resolve the complaints.

After the initial presentation, the group took a short break followed by a drawing for one of the classical texts on acoustics donated by Uneeda Audio founder Rick Chinn. Desiree Guevara, a first-time AES meeting attendee, won the vintage copy of Acoustical Designing in Architecture, by Cyril Harris and Vern Knudson. After the drawing, the meeting continued with questions and answers, during which the topic of the June meeting, directional subwoofer arrangements emerged.

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