May is always a noisy month in Georgetown. Increased noise seems to come from everywhere: the doubling down of construction projects determined to finish by summer, stepped-up air traffic, birds in flirting mode and school graduation celebrations, especially by Georgetown’s numerous college graduates.
One of several agencies that enforce regulations regarding noise, the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has as its official and declared policy that “every person is entitled to ambient noise levels that are not detrimental to life, health, and enjoyment of his or her property. Excessive or unnecessary noises within the District are a menace.”
However, DCRA’s primary responsibility is for noise related to activity under its regulatory authority, such as that generated by trash removal and construction. The agency also deals with complaints about noise from licensed night clubs and restaurants serving alcohol, which in many cases occurs outside during the warm summer months.
But loud noise from graduating seniors, mating fowls and such — in, around, over and sometimes under Georgetown residences — is another matter.
One gathers that in much of the country most social noise on weekends has a flexible shutdown time of around midnight. Then, the appropriate enforcement agency to call is the local police.
But before doing that, Eve Bachrach of Curbed LA suggests doing three things:
Take a deep breath and consider whether the noise coming through the walls is merely aggravating, or likely to be in violation of your local noise ordinance.
Have a nice chat
Once you’ve calmed down (and really, don’t attempt to have a polite conversation while you’re seething — it won’t end well), knock on their door and ask your neighbor to quiet down.
Get out of the house
This isn’t necessarily a long-term solution, but go for a walk. Work at a cafe. See a movie.
But after taking those steps, call the police if the noise is genuinely impeding your health and safety.