Bracket Room (1210 N. Garfield Street) in Clarendon had wanted to offer its patrons live music, but an outcry from neighbors prompted a change of plans.
Bracket Room’s owners had applied for a live entertainment permit, but decided within the past couple of weeks to withdraw the application. They made the decision based on noise complaints from neighbors living in Lyon Place apartments — located directly above the sports bar — who say the existing music is too loud.
“We’ve had a lot of issues with the tenants in the building from the beginning,” said Co-owner Jeff Greenberg. “The residents were calling the police when we first opened, which I hear really happens to everybody. But we don’t want to upset the people in the building or the landlord.”
One month after the sports bar’s early September opening, police said they had received around three dozen complaints related to Bracket Room. County Zoning and Code Enforcement staff had also received more than 15 complaints. Last month, County Planner Sophia Fisher said county employees were looking into the issues. Staff members familiar with each permit request typically make a recommendation to the County Board about whether to grant or deny the permit.
“Zoning and Code Enforcement staff are both currently monitoring the use due to concerns raised by citizens related to noise,” Fisher said in October. “Because live entertainment has the potential to increase the impacts of a venue on the surrounding community, citizen concerns related to noise are taken very seriously by staff.”
Today, Fisher confirmed that the Bracket Room owners have withdrawn their application for the live entertainment permit.
Bracket Room customers might notice some changes implemented during the past two weeks to appease neighbors. First, owners decided to lower the music level to 85 decibels.
“They’re trying to keep [the music] as low as they can so people inside are having fun but other people aren’t disturbed by the noise,” said Greenberg. “When the people in the building are mad at you, what are you going to do?”
The owners also examined the sports bar’s closing time and decided to shut the doors earlier.
“The 1:00-2:00 a.m. crowd is usually smaller than at other hours of the day, but it’s rowdier,” Greenberg said. “We’re cutting our hours back and we’re not staying open until 2:00 a.m.”
Since implementing the changes about two weeks ago, the owners have not been notified of as many noise complaints.
Other ideas the owners continue to throw around include adding additional security, working with an architect to find some other form of noise insulation, and possibly turning down the music’s bass if necessary.
“We’re going to contain the noise, but we’re going to try to keep our restaurant full every night,” said Greenberg. “We’re going to try the best we can. We want to get along, we want to be loved.”
In a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette last week, Arlington resident Karen Lamb said that construction noise has gotten worse in Arlington in recent years.
“I moved here in 1994, and it was relatively tranquil,” she wrote. “Now, there is new construction going on all over, trees are being leveled, hilltops razed and the sound of construction equipment is everywhere, with the incessant beeping of bulldozers backing up… no longer can I have breakfast or lunch in the gazebo, and forget sleeping past 7 a.m.”
The noise is “unbearable ” and the county has refused to do anything about it, Lamb continued.
A man who was “irritated with loud noise from a party” fired a gunshot into the air when some party-goers approached him, according to an Arlington County Police crime report.
The incident happened around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, on the 3000 block of S. Randolph Street in Shirlington.
The man, who was intoxicated, was upset that a “drinking party” in his apartment building was making a ruckus, even after he asked the party-goers to quiet down, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Frustrated, the man began filming the party with his cell phone from the building’s courtyard.
Four people from the party then approached the man, according to Sternbeck. Feeling “threatened,” the man took out a pistol from his waistband and fired a single gunshot into the air, Sternbeck said; the party-goers scattered, and the man placed the gun on the ground waited for police to arrive. Nobody was injured.
Patrick John Kelley, 32, was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm and reckless handling of a firearm. He was held on a secured bond.
The shell casing from the shot was found, but the bullet was not recovered, Sternbeck said.
The second of two scheduled public meetings on proposed changes to Arlington noise control ordinance will be held tonight.
Code enforcement staff and police department officials will be on hand to answer questions and concerns about the planned changes, which will dramatically increase fines for noise ordinance violations while eliminating subjective standards for enforcement.
Tonight’s public forum will be held at the Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Avenue) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. At its October meeting, the Arlington County Board voted to defer a formal public hearing on the noise control ordinance changes until after public input was gathered at two meetings, the first of which was held yesterday.
The county has produced a video about the noise ordinance changes, as seen above.
Board Votes Against Taxi Driver Proposal — By a contentious vote of 3-2, the Arlington County Board last night voted against a proposal that would allow taxicab drivers to be issued taxi operating certificates on an individual basis. Currently, only taxi companies are granted certificates in Arlington. County Board Chair Mary Hynes, along with Jay Fisette and Libby Garvey, voted against the proposal, arguing that the current system is working well for riders. Chris Zimmerman and Walter Tejada took the side of a coalition of taxi drivers that has been pushing for a driver-based certificate system. [Sun Gazette]
Meetings for Noise Control Ordinance – Updated at 8:45 a.m. — The County Board last night voted unanimously to defer a scheduled hearing on a series of proposed changes to the county’s noise control ordinance. Instead, two public meetings will be held to discuss the changes, in advance of a Board vote on advertising and holding a public hearing on the revisions. The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the 2012 Navy League Building (2300 Wilson Boulevard). The second will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Shirlington Branch Library (4200 Campbell Street). [Arlington County]
Examiner Endorses Murray — The Washington Examiner has endorsed Republican Patrick Murray in the race for Virginia’s 8th District congressional seat. The paper lauded Murray’s military experience and said he “is clearly the better choice.” Earlier this month the Washington Post endorsed Murray’s opponent, long-time incumbent Rep. Jim Moran. [Washington Examiner]
Among the proposed changes, county staff is recommending an increase in the fine for a noise violation from $25 to a maximum of $2,500. Jail time would also be possible under the revised ordinance.
The county started the process of revising the ordinance in 2009, which the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a provision in Virginia Beach’s noise control ordinance — a “reasonable person” standard for judging noise violations — was “unconstitutionally void due to its vagueness.”
Arlington’s current ordinance contains the same “reasonable person” standard. At the moment, the only enforceable parts of the ordinance require police or inspectors to either use a volume meter to see if noise is above a set threshold, or to catch someone engaging in a “prohibited act,” like idling an engine for too long or sounding a car horn for reasons other than as an “emergency warning signal.”
The revised ordinance will help with enforcement of the ordinance by clarifying how sound level meters are to be used to determine violations.
Under the ordinance, construction and special event noise above 90 dB will be prohibited. According to the staff report, it also “strengthens requirements to have developers and owners determine and provide industry-standard sound mitigation solutions for noise sources at construction sites.”
The threshold for vehicle noise will be 70-90 dB, depending on the vehicle’s speed and weight, and the threshold for other sources of noise will be 55-70 dB, depending on which part of the county the noise is impacting (residential, commercial, etc.).
The new ordinance also clarifies some of the “prohibited acts.” For instance, it will prohibit residents from playing music or blasting their TV so loud that it can be heard in another apartment or house at least 20 feet away, or in an adjacent yard at least 50 feet away.
The county government and its contractors are exempt from the ordinance.
Public affairs personnel from the military base are advising Arlington residents who live in the area that they might hear cannon fire around noon tomorrow (July 4) as a result of the annual ceremony.
Please be advised that there will be a 50-gun salute to the nation at the stroke of 12 noon, Wednesday, July 4 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Whipple Field by Soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Presidential Salute Battery.
According to Army regulation, “in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence, a salute to the Union (50 guns) will be fired at 1200 hours on Independence Day at all Army installations provided with the necessary equipment for firing salutes.” In 1810, the “National Salute” was defined by the War Department as equal to the number of states in the Union. Today the Presidential Salute Battery fires 50 rounds at noon on Independence Day to celebrate the nation’s history. This 4th of July, the Presidential Salute Battery will fire the 75mm blank ceremonial shell with 1.5 pounds of powder. The salute takes about four minutes total, so arrive early to view this celebration of America.
The platoon is equipped with 10 M5, 75mm antitank cannons mounted on M6 howitzer carriages. Each gun weighs 5,775 pounds
Portions of several roads on the base — including Marshall Drive, Grant Avenue, and Washington Avenue — will be blocked off during the salute.
Residents who live along I-395 and Route 1 can expect to hear the roar of motorcycle engines tomorrow, May 25, as the bikers head to hotels in Crystal City — including the rally’s official hotel, the Hyatt Regency at 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway — and to a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.
On Sunday, Rolling Thunder will rumble over to the Pentagon parking lot at 6:45 a.m. for an event that will be followed by a convoy into D.C. at noon. In order to safely accommodate the rally, Arlington County Police will close Washington Boulevard from I-395 to the Memorial Bridge from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., according to a press release. During that time, Arlington National Cemetery will only be accessible from southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway or northbound Route 110.
“Motorists should expect large numbers of motorcyclists in Northern Virginia and the entire Washington Metropolitan area this weekend,” the police department advised. In the past, Rolling Thunder has drawn criticism for the amount of noise it generates for those who live along major roadways.
A complete list of Rolling Thunder events is available on the rally’s website.
The hour-long military pageants feature soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” While the pageant takes place, neighbors near Ft. Myer may hear singing, music and blank cannon fire.
All performances are free and open to the public. Tonight’s performance is held at Summerall Field on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Pre-ceremony pageantry begins at 6:45 p.m., and the ceremony begins at 7:00 p.m.
The full list of dates and exact locations on the base can be found online.
The drills are scheduled to take place between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 17. They will be conducted on the northern portion of Summerall Field on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, according to base spokesman Stephen Satkowski.
The drills involve firing blanks from the Presidential Salute Battery’s anti-tank guns. Nearby residents may hear the boom of cannon fire during the drills, as they did on several occasions last year.
Next week’s drills are being described as rehearsals in preparation for the Presidential Salute Battery’s participation in the Presidents’ Day ceremonies at Mount Vernon on Feb. 20. Residents may call the Old Guard’s public affairs office at 703-696-4183 for more information.
Earlier this year crews started nighttime rehabilitation work on the main runway at Reagan National Airport. That work directed planes landing after 11:00 p.m. to another runway, which in turn steered them over a larger portion of Arlington. Some frustrated residents have told ARLnow.com that since the construction started they have been woken up several times by loud, low-flying jets.
The late night runway change also steered planes heading in from the south over portions of southeast and southwest D.C. That prompted D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to send letters to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority last week, asking for an end to the redirected late night flights.
“Residents have continued calling [Holmes'] office, saying that they have experienced deafening, terrorizing noise and lights from planes flying directly over their homes in the dead of night,” the delegate’s office said, in a press release.
In response to the letter, the airports authority announced that it was scaling back the start of construction from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., leaving the main runway open later. The change took effect last Friday. The main runway will continue to reopen at 6:00 a.m. following the overnight construction.
“This will significantly reduce the number of late-night flights using alternate flight patterns to reach the airport,” MWAA said.
Residents Decry Aircraft Noise — Noise from airplanes landing at Reagan National Airport is “seriously affecting residents’ quality of life” in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood. Residents told airport representatives at last night’s civic association meeting that the noise has gotten considerably worse since nighttime repair work on the airport’s main runway began in May. [Ode Street Tribune]
Pike Resident Named Roommate of the Year — Columbia Pike resident Jesse McLaughlin has won free rent for a year and $10,000 cash after being named the Apartments.com Roommate of the Year. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office employee’s cooking and cleaning prowess helped him beat out nine other finalists for the title. As it turns out, Jesse’s roommate is actually his girlfriend, Lisa. [Roommate of the Year Contest]
Ride Planned for Capital Bikeshare Birthday — To celebrate Capital Bikeshare’s first birthday, and its one millionth ride, Bike Arlington is planning a celebratory ride into D.C. The convoy will be meeting at locations in Rosslyn and Crystal City tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., and will ride to Yards Park in the District. [CommuterPage Blog]
The Army’s Presidential Salute Battery, which caused a stir earlier this year after their firing drills at Arlington National Cemetery woke up residents from Arlington to D.C., conducted another loud drill this morning.
“Why does it sound like there are bombs going off… in Clarendon?” asked Twitter user @StacMid around 7:45 this morning.
The reason was because the Battery was conducting a “blank fire crew drill” at the cemetery. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall sent out an email advisory about the drill just after 5:30 last night. Arlington County notified residents just before 10:00 p.m., via Arlington Alerts.
Several Arlington residents said they could hear the anti-tank guns loud and clear this morning.
“Three sets of 11 booms. Sounds like howitzer fire,” tweeted @mikematyas.
“In Westover Village and I can hear the cannon (or gunfire or whatever),” said @ElizabethAFloyd. “Thought I’d be too far to hear but guess not!”
Noise Monitoring at DCA — A company has been hired to measure noise levels around Reagan National Airport. The information gathered will be used to figure out “ways to control or reduce noise pollution.” [NBC Washington]
Bus Stop Decorated — A local ART bus stop has been “yarn bombed.” [Facebook]
Local Newspaper CEO Pleads Guilty — The president and CEO of Connection Newspapers, which publishes the Arlington Connection weekly, has pleaded guilty to failing to pay more than $940,000 in federal payroll taxes. [Washington Examiner]
Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White
It may be a long night if you’re a light sleeper. Two separate training exercises are threatening to make some noise in the Arlington area during the wee hours of the morning.
First, a “series of training flights” is planned between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m.
In a series of training flights held in coordination with the FAA, an exercise will take place between 3 and 5 a.m. Wednesday morning in the National Capital Region. Depending on flight patterns some Arlington residents may be affected.
Then, the Presidential Salute Battery will once again be conducting cannon firing drills in Arlington National Cemetery, starting at 6:30 a.m.
The Presidential Salute Battery will be conducting firing drills in Arlington National Cemetery June 15 from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. The training is being conducted before the cemetery opens to not interfere with ongoing memorial services. This training ensures the unit maintains the highest level of ceremonial proficiency necessary to render proper honors to our nation’s fallen servicemembers and veterans.