New York City resident issues noise complaints

Photo credit: Lukas Kloeppel 

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

I wonder how many of our readers are aware that citizens in New York City can register complaints against noisy restaurants and bars, which can result in summonses issued to these establishments. This NBC New York article singles out one Queens resident, Dietmar Detering, who is identified as one of the most “prolific noise ticket writers.” He is rewarded for his actions by receiving a portion of the funds collected for these noise violations. To learn more about citizens’ authority to write noise tickets, I suggest you go to the New York Noise Code on the Department of Environmental Protection’s website and look at Section 24-261. 

This article raises questions as to whether certain neighborhoods may be ticketed more frequently. Detering said that he can address any discrimination on his part and adds that his actions might lead to more quiet in such communities. In response to being called a bounty hunter, Detering responds that New York City is becoming a quieter and more pleasant place because of the issuance of tickets resulting from his action.  

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the agency charged with responding to certain noise complaints in the city, believes that there should be changes with regard to the section of the Noise Code dealing with citizen-issued noise tickets. DEP Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala believes that a few citizens may be abusing the right to issue noise tickets.Part of the problem related to citizen-issued noise tickets is the right to play commercial music, and the DEP is calling on City Council to clarify commercial music. DEP also wants a rule that that one summons should be dealt with before others are issued to the business. After hearing DEP criticisms, Detering commented that such criticisms reflects the department’s inability to get its job done. I assume this means working toward a quieter, less noisy, New York City.


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