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cosmo1

Downcity Living

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We live in downtown Providence and moved here because we thought Providence is a gem. We also, liked the diversity and the changes to the area that have been occuring however we got more than what we bargained for and we were wondering if anyone had some construction suggestions.

We live above a restaurant ( a fact we did not know upon purchasing) which is open until 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and the issue we have is one of sound coming from their jukebox. Living in a city, there is plenty of noise however we did not count on noise being blasted from a juekbox late at night from 11:00 p.m. on and it is coming into our unit in the form of loud vibrations making it impossible to sleep.

Has anyone ever had this issue and outside of moving, does anyone have constructive suggestions on how to overcome this. We have written to our condo association and some are very sympathetic but in general, where it does not affect them since they are not above the restaurant, to the association, this is not problematic.

We have tried earplugs, sound machines but unfortunately, it is not applicable to noise coming from below the restaurant. We have tried talking to the owners but are given excuse after excuse and all we are looking for is peace in our home - that's it.

Any constructive suggestions would be appreciated. Looking to sleep, sometimes. Cosmo 1

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join the party! :alc:

sorry, i couldn't resist. that really sucks, and unfortunately, i don't have any suggestions for you.

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Is the noise you're experiencing primarily bass, or can you actually hear the music coming thru the floor?

I ask because low frequency sounds (bass) will travel through the structure of the house by actually vibrating the joists and studs, where higher frequency sounds will pass through walls and floors.

There are different techniques for deadening different audio frequencies. So, is it primarily the thumping of the juke that's keeping you up, or is it the music itself where you can hear instruments/vocals/etc?

welcome to the forum!

-Matt

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one suggestion i will make is that you could do wall to wall carpeting with a thicker carpet and a good thick carpet pad underneath. that might deaden some of the higher frequency sounds. the bass might be a bit more difficult to block. perhaps the condo association could try to get the club owner to add some sound proofing in the walls and ceiling, though that might require some monetary input from them.

if the bass is rattling things, it's quite possible the club just needs to turn down the bass a bit. although, for some reason, people seem to like lots of bass. :dontknow:

the last possibility might be noise ordinances and to see if they might be violating something. that should probably be the last resort though as they could easily make your life very miserable if they know people.

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You might call and ask the police what the legal sound limit is and make sure that the restaurant isn't violating it before you spend money trying to soundproof your unit.

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Is the noise you're experiencing primarily bass, or can you actually hear the music coming thru the floor?

I ask because low frequency sounds (bass) will travel through the structure of the house by actually vibrating the joists and studs, where higher frequency sounds will pass through walls and floors.

There are different techniques for deadening different audio frequencies. So, is it primarily the thumping of the juke that's keeping you up, or is it the music itself where you can hear instruments/vocals/etc?

welcome to the forum!

-Matt

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We are not sure - as sometimes it might be bass sounds and sometimes, you can actually hear the music. We have thought of getting a sound technician to analyze the problem. Thank you.

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I just read the first post over again and I see that you didn't know there was a restaurant there when you bought the condo, so I'm going to assume that it moved in after you did. I'm surprised that there's nothing in your condo assocition, or deed or anything that discusses quiet enjoyment of your unit. I think I know exactly where your condo is btw, and I'd be pretty upset with the noise and vibrations too. If the restaurant and its juke box have adversely affected the value of your unit (or if in order for it to retain its value you have to spend another 100K making it quiet), I would think you would have some sort of leverage to push for some noise proofing on the first floor.

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I just read the first post over again and I see that you didn't know there was a restaurant there when you bought the condo, so I'm going to assume that it moved in after you did. I'm surprised that there's nothing in your condo assocition, or deed or anything that discusses quiet enjoyment of your unit. I think I know exactly where your condo is btw, and I'd be pretty upset with the noise and vibrations too. If the restaurant and its juke box have adversely affected the value of your unit (or if in order for it to retain its value you have to spend another 100K making it quiet), I would think you would have some sort of leverage to push for some noise proofing on the first floor.

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We have appealed to our condo association and to date, they have not done anything. We have had a few individuals witness the noise and they are trying to get the restaurant owners to comply. Also, this has been going on since they opened and no we did not know a restaurant was going in when we bought our unit otherwise, we would not have bought here. We did ask at the time of purchase what was going in but we were told it would not be a restaurant. Thank you for your concern. Cosmo 1

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there's a difference between a restaurant (which i am sure you wouldn't have minded a normal restaurant) and a bar that plays really loud music.

something you may want to try is the downcity neighborhood association and the downcity merchants association. you might be able to appeal to them to get this restaurant to comply.

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Oh, duh, I know where you live. Yes, they do jack the music pretty loud there at a certain point in the night. It seems, rather than tearing up your floor to separate the floor from the ceiling, your new neighbor should do work to insulate their ceiling to see if it helps. You were there first after all. Did the condo association get any assurances from the tenant before they moved in? Are they a member of the association (they bought the space from what I understand, correct?)?

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We were given assurances that soundproofing would not be an issue however it is. We have written to our condo association and are hoping for our sake they will resolve this. Agree with your comments. Thank you and we hope they will do something for us. Cosmo 1

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I am very appreciative of everyone's response to my last updates and would like to thank everyone. I am researching some of your suggestions. (see previous article - Sound Issues from a Jukebox)

It is apparent that the Owner of the Restaurant will not add additional insulation. Our Condominium Association, where they are not directly above the restaurant is very slow, responding because some of the unit owners are away, they will probably, wait until late August or early fall which is unbearable considering the situation we are in. Also,for some of the unit owners, this is not their primary residence but a second place however there are enough full time residents living here.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with the Condominium Association or has anyone ever experienced this type of situation in getting the Association to cooperate? As previously stated, they are not directly impacted but I believe one condo unit's problems are everyone's problem and being a good neighbor is paramount.

Sleepless in Providence. Cosmo 1 :w00t::alc:

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Cosmo, you should be looking at all the bylaws of your condo association with a very fine toothed comb to see what you have as leverage. I think if I was in your shoes I'd be talking with a lawyer about whether there is any way there's a legal action in my future. Unless you didn't read all the paperwork you got when you bought your Condo, I would find it hard to believe that there isn't something actionable here. You clearly are not able to have quiet enjoyment of your home; there was NOT a sports bar / restaurant on the first floor when you bought the condo (although there used to be a very quiet jazz bar there so clearly the use was approved long before you moved in although I am not sure that Pelham House served food.) If you haven't already, I would make sure that on the loudest night there's a police officer taking decible readings on that Juke box.

Good Luck.

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Cosmo, you should be looking at all the bylaws of your condo association with a very fine toothed comb to see what you have as leverage. I think if I was in your shoes I'd be talking with a lawyer about whether there is any way there's a legal action in my future. Unless you didn't read all the paperwork you got when you bought your Condo, I would find it hard to believe that there isn't something actionable here. You clearly are not able to have quiet enjoyment of your home; there was NOT a sports bar / restaurant on the first floor when you bought the condo (although there used to be a very quiet jazz bar there so clearly the use was approved long before you moved in although I am not sure that Pelham House served food.) If you haven't already, I would make sure that on the loudest night there's a police officer taking decible readings on that Juke box.

Good Luck.

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I am in total agreement with you. If you live in a condo setting, one would think that you should all get together and come up with some kind of an understanding. Every condo association I'm sure has a specific amount of meetings that need to be set for the year and I also believe that if you make any changes to the original agreement such as putting up a sign or going from a "deli" to a night club situation that it would need to go through an association vote. hmmm? I'm confused, is there one person running your condo association? How does one owner make the decisions of the other owners? Do they own more units to give them more votes?

I am very appreciative of everyone's response to my last updates and would like to thank everyone. I am researching some of your suggestions. (see previous article - Sound Issues from a Jukebox)

It is apparent that the Owner of the Restaurant will not add additional insulation. Our Condominium Association, where they are not directly above the restaurant is very slow, responding because some of the unit owners are away, they will probably, wait until late August or early fall which is unbearable considering the situation we are in. Also,for some of the unit owners, this is not their primary residence but a second place however there are enough full time residents living here.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with the Condominium Association or has anyone ever experienced this type of situation in getting the Association to cooperate? As previously stated, they are not directly impacted but I believe one condo unit's problems are everyone's problem and being a good neighbor is paramount.

Sleepless in Providence. Cosmo 1 :w00t::alc:

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I am in the process of doing what you suggested. The police were called 4 times one week ago but of course, they said there was no issue or so the restaurant informed me. Thanks - Cosmo 1

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I am in total agreement with you. If you live in a condo setting, one would think that you should all get together and come up with some kind of an understanding. Every condo association I'm sure has a specific amount of meetings that need to be set for the year and I also believe that if you make any changes to the original agreement such as putting up a sign or going from a "deli" to a night club situation that it would need to go through an association vote. hmmm? I'm confused, is there one person running your condo association? How does one owner make the decisions of the other owners? Do they own more units to give them more votes?

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if the restaurant is informing you that there is no issue resulting from the police that came because you called, there's a serious problem. that's a conflict of interest and it sounds like the police know the owners of the restaurant.

if you haven't already, i would write a letter to your city councilperson. it can't hurt to just let him/her know what's going on.

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Also, from viewing Urban Planet.org, we have learnt there was a Design Review Committee Meeting sometime ago and we believe there were no residents from this building present. The reason for this is that we were never notified of this meeting otherwise we would have gone and voiced our concerns. Cosmo 1

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I don't think they are mandated to invite you (as an abutter). There were no variances that I know of, I think this space flowed from one restaurant use to another (with a sizable gap in between). They were asking DRC to allow them to put the door in on Fountain Street since the door on the corner is not accessible. DRC didn't comment at all on use, just the facade and that door. They *may* have been before zoning at one point, but like I said, the use didn't change (as far as zoning is concerned) so I don't *think* they needed to go to zoning.

Does the music become bothersome at some point during the night, like say 7:30-8pm? Because as a patron, I've noticed the music get louder around then, and it is actually annoying as a patron. I didn't go to a nightclub, I went to eat and have some beers. If the noise isn't a problem in the afternoon early evening, it may just be a matter of them not turning up the music so loud.

The restaurant is a member of the DMA, I'd recommend giving Arnell Milhouse a call, he's the President of the DMA, and tell him your concerns. He's a good guy, he might act as a mediator for you.

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We still, are at a standstill with noise issues. The Restaurant Owner leaves their windows and doors open and of course, the sound travels upward in addtion to the noise coming through our floor. The condominium documents clearly, state that the commercial space must keep the doors closed at all times so there will not be noise or odor issues. We have appealed countless times to the Condominium President and others at this building . The Condominium Presidet feels he cannot enforce this however we did receive a note from him that the noise must not be above 60 decibels. We have appealed to City Hall who tells us they will straighten this out however they have not and after many calls, they will not give us the courtesy of a call back.

We would like to start a committee for Citizens against Noise Pollution as we would not like anyone to experience what we have and together, as a group, we could make a difference. People are lured to the downtown area with the promise of tax breaks but they do not address issues such as matching up commerical spaces with residential spaces not the issues that can potentially arise.

We were at a meeting last October in which we were told the restaurant had hired a design firm which we found out they had not. We were led to believe this was going to be a very nice place. We were told many things, most of which did not ring true.

We have had sound specialists into our unit but to fix this problem would be very costly and since we were here first, we did not create this problem. We feel the restaurant owner should be liable for this as we believe construction was not as it should be due to budgetary issues.

We have fruit flies in our elevator which are now coming into our condominium. The fruit flies are from an issue associated with the restaurant. There is a trail of grease from the restaurant owner's entrance through our parking lot. There is grease on the sidewalk which the D.I.D. tries to power wash but it just appears again. We have residents living here that because the noise does not impact them, they feel they do not have to address another resident's issues. We have asked for emergency meetings from the Condominium President. We have a Condominium Association which has a conflict of interests and also, these individuals are so socio-politically enmeshed with one another, it is difficult for one to go against the other.

We are looking into litigation as after studying the condominium documents, we find there are a number of rules that are not being adhered to.

If anyone has further advice or suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated. Cosmo 1

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Good morning. Sorry to hear that the issue is still a problem.

You might want to e-mail Frank LaTorre at [email protected] He is the Director of Public Space for the Downtown Improvement District and is involved with the Hospitality Resource Partnership. According to the mayor's January 12, 2007, press release.

The HRP was created under the guidance and consultation of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that promotes cooperation and consensus-building among key stakeholders to enhance the economic, employment and social benefits of hospitality districts while reducing the risks to public safety and the impact on quality of life.

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Good morning. Sorry to hear that the issue is still a problem.

You might want to e-mail Frank LaTorre at [email protected] He is the Director of Public Space for the Downtown Improvement District and is involved with the Hospitality Resource Partnership. According to the mayor's January 12, 2007, press release.

Downtown Inprovement District is trying to address the impact of nightlife on residents through this partnership, so it's possible that Mr LaTorre might be able to point you in the right direction. Good luck.

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