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Letter: State noise legislation unfair to Columbia residents

I am strongly opposed to this proposed legislation. I respectfully urge the Howard County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly, chaired by Del. Guy Guzzone and Sen. James Robey, to reconsider and withdraw this unfair piece of legislation that is not in the best interests of the residents of Howard County. 

This proposed legislation would allow harmful levels of noise, without any restrictions, from the Merriweather Post Pavilion (MPP) in Columbia. This legislation would grant special rights — by way of an exception to current state laws limiting noise levels from such a facility. It means our neighborhoods would have more and louder noise pollution. It means this facility does not have to abide by current Howard County and state laws. It means that Howard County would not be able to fine up to $10,000 for blatant noise infractions. Such a proposed bill serves the interests of companies involved in putting on entertainment in this venue, but it clearly does not serve the interests of those who live in the Columbia Town Center. 

I find it particularly unsettling that this deceptive piece of legislation was "slipped in" and offered under modifications to an existing law that regulated the noise levels at firing ranges elsewhere in Maryland in low-population density areas.  I recently compared Google population maps of the two areas and find the decision to propose this legislation — in this particular context — deceptive. I am deeply offended by this betrayal by our elected representatives.

If the state wants to de-regulate amplified sound at large entertainment facilities, they ought to include all facilities in the state and not attempt to limit one particular county's ability to govern.

I would propose that since MPP has a record of support from Howard County citizens, that they not jeopardize this relationship with this bill. Indeed Howard County Council is perfectly capable and positioned to oversee MPP in a way that supports its survival while maintaining respect and sensitivity to the noise issues for Columbia residents.

 Jan Bowman, Ph.D

Columbia

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