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Delegation approves Merriweather noise legislation

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The Howard County Delegation Wednesday in Annapolis approved a bill that would relax noise limitations on Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The bill still must be passed by the General Assembly.

Merriweather General Manager Jean Parker said she was "extremely happy" with the outcome and thanked the delegation for understanding the importance of Merriweather to the community.

She has said that this bill does not mean acts at Merriweather will play louder. Instead, it codifies county law to reflect how the concert venue has operated for years.

"It's certainly not going to get any louder," Parker said.

Merriweather had asked the delegation to approve a bill that would prevent Howard County or any local government subsidiary from banning the electronic amplification of sound between certain hours at an outdoor concert venue with a capacity of more than 15,000 individuals. Merriweather, built in 1967, is the only such venue in the county.

Merriweather officials later revised their request by setting noise limits to 95 decibels within a quarter-miler of the pavilion and 72.5 decibels at residential property lines.

Under the legislation, the Columbia concert venue could operate at 95 decibels within a quarter-mile radius of the pavilion from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. There are no residential properties within that radius.

At residential property lines outside the radius, Merriweather would have to abide by a 72.5 decibel level, up from the current 65 decibel level.

The county's current noise ordinance requires the decibel level at surrounding residential properties to drop from a maximum of 65 during the day to 55 at 10 p.m.

The bill has received mixed reviews from residents over the past two months, with some arguing that Merriweather is already too loud and others saying the iconic Columbia venue needs to change to thrive. - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpuf

The bill has received mixed reviews from residents over the past two months, with some arguing that Merriweather is already too loud and others saying the iconic Columbia venue needs the change to thrive.

Merriweather General Manager Jean Parker has said these new levels won't allow acts at Merriweather to play louder, but would update county code to reflect how the concert venue has operated for years. - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpufMerriweather General Manager Jean Parker has said these new levels won't allow acts at Merriweather to play louder, but would update county code to reflect how the concert venue has operated for years. - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpufMerriweather General Manager Jean Parker has said these new levels won't allow acts at Merriweather to play louder, but would update county code to reflect how the concert venue has operated for years. - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpuf

Del. Liz Bobo, a Columbia Democrat whose district includes Merriweather, cast the lone vote against the bill.

Bobo said she believes existing law does not work for Merriweather, but voted against the bill for two reasons.

Since the county is in charge of enforcing this regulation, Bobo said it made sense for the county to implement laws on noise limits. She also said that she and her colleagues don't understand the differences in noise levels that they approved.

Bobo said she discussed a bill with the delegation that would have allowed the county government to set the noise limit, but said "they (delegation) preferred to do it this way."

Delegation co-chair Del. Guy Guzzone, a Columbia Democrat, said after discussing this proposal for several months, the delegation concluded that to go through the process all over again would not be helpful and "would not reveal any new information."

He said he had "absolutely zero concern" about this bill creating more noise issues for nearby residents.

"I firmly believe this will be a great, uneventful concert season," Guzzone said.

Merriweather had asked the delegation to approve a bill that would prevent Howard County or any local government subsidiary from banning the electronic amplification of sound between certain hours at an outdoor concert venue with a capacity of more than 15,000 individuals. Merriweather, built in 1967, is the only such venue in the county.

Merriweather officials later revised their request by setting noise limits to 95 decibels within a quarter-miler of the pavilion and 72.5 decibels at residential property lines.

- See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpuf

Merriweather had asked the delegation to approve a bill that would prevent Howard County or any local government subsidiary from banning the electronic amplification of sound between certain hours at an outdoor concert venue with a capacity of more than 15,000 individuals. Merriweather, built in 1967, is the only such venue in the county.

Merriweather officials later revised their request by setting noise limits to 95 decibels within a quarter-miler of the pavilion and 72.5 decibels at residential property lines.

- See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpuf

 

Merriweather had asked the delegation to approve a bill that would prevent Howard County or any local government subsidiary from banning the electronic amplification of sound between certain hours at an outdoor concert venue with a capacity of more than 15,000 individuals. Merriweather, built in 1967, is the only such venue in the county.

Merriweather officials later revised their request by setting noise limits to 95 decibels within a quarter-miler of the pavilion and 72.5 decibels at residential property lines.

- See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-cf-merriweather-0221-20130220,0,7343012.story#sthash.4ugdgdhf.dpuf

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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