Laurelhurst Community Club†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Serving 2800 Households in
May 28, 2004
Mayor Greg Nickels
7th Floor, City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue
P.O. Box 94726
Seattle, Washington 98124-4726
Re: Enforcement of the Residential Noise Ordinance
Dear Mayor Nickels:
Noise in residential communities directly affects our quality of life and helps define the attraction of a neighborhood as a place to live. Neighborhoods near the University of Washington have particular problems from party houses or other chronically loud and boisterous activity. We were disappointed to recently learn from the University Park Community Club about enforcement issues with the noise ordinance.
Recent revisions to the Seattle Noise Ordinance held the promise of clear progress in enforcement of reasonable standards for neighborhood courtesy by authorizing police officers to issue citations on the spot when noise reaches objectionable levels.
The Laurelhurst Community Club receives complaints from neighbors about parties, and loud businesses on a regular basis. We have a strong interest in seeing the citation process succeed. Now that problems have arisen in University Park, we hope they will be addressed and that operating standards will be established that serve the community generally.
Regarding the citation process, we are experiencing a practical problem, which should be addressed at this time. Response times are very long, given the relatively low priority of noise complaints. When officers arrive several hours after the complaint, they might naturally be reluctant to issue a citation, since the responsible people may be gone, and the objectionable behavior long since past.
The solution might be to provide clear guidance, and periodic reviews of practices in this area. The citation process should be exercised and given a chance to work, particularly in the case of repeated complaints from the same address.
Even one or two citations can have a big effect on behavior, and official sanctions make a clear statement about community standards. If residents feel the citation is unjust, they may appeal. Even if the citation is voided, the message about community standards has value and meaning.
The Laurelhurst Community Club encourages training and guidance for responding officers in favor of using the citation process as provided in the city ordinance. With proper review and good judgment, we feel that all residents will benefit from improved conditions and better relationships in the neighborhood.
Jeannie Hale, President Stan Sorscher, LCC Trustee
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE 3716 NE 43rd Street
Seattle, Washington 98105 Seattle, Washington 98105
525-5135 / fax 525-9631 522-7660
cc: Chief Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle City Councilmembers, Diane Horswill, SPD Crime Prevention Representative, Pat Wright, LCC Crime Prevention Representative