Code of the District of Columbia

§ 25–725. Noise from licensed premises.

(a) The licensee under an on-premises retailer’s license shall not produce any sound, noise, or music of such intensity that it may be heard in any premises other than the licensed establishment by the use of any:

(1) Mechanical device, machine, apparatus, or instrument for amplification of the human voice or any sound or noise;

(2) Bell, horn, gong, whistle, drum, or other noise-making article, instrument, or device; or

(3) Musical instrument.

(b) This section shall not apply to:

(1) Areas in the building which are not part of the licensed establishment;

(2) A building owned by the licensee which abuts the licensed establishment;

(3) Any premises other than the licensed establishment which are located within a C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-M, or M zone, as defined in the zoning regulations for the District;

(4) Sounds, noises, or music occasioned by normal opening of entrance and exit doors for the purpose of ingress and egress; or

(5) Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning devices.

(c) The licensees under this subchapter shall comply with the noise level requirements set forth in Chapter 27 of Title 20 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(d)(1) ABRA shall maintain a complaint program to receive noise complaints by phone, email, and fax. The complaint program shall be staffed by an ABRA employee until at least one hour after the end time for the legal sale of alcoholic beverages as set forth in § 25-723.

(2) ABRA shall keep records regarding noise complaints and record the following information at the time the complaint is made:

(A) The time and date of the complaint;

(B) The name and address of the establishment that is the subject of the complaint;

(C) The name and address of the complainant, if available;

(D) The nature of the noise complaint; and

(E) Whether the complaint was substantiated by ABRA.

(3) Upon receipt of a noise complaint, ABRA shall attempt to contact the establishment by phone or in person and inform the ABC manager on-duty that a noise complaint has been received and describe the nature of the complaint.

(4) ABRA shall notify the licensee of the complaint by e-mail, phone, or registered mail within 72 hours of receiving the complaint. ABRA shall notify the licensee of the results of any investigation that may result in a show cause hearing within 90 days as required by § 25-832.

(e) The windows and doors of an establishment from which noise can be heard shall remain open or closed, as they were at the time the complaint was made, in order for an ABRA investigator or Metropolitan Police Department officer to determine whether a violation of subsection (a) of this section exists. The ABRA investigator shall have the authority to direct that windows and doors be closed or opened.


(May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(bb), 60 DCR 3410.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 25-123 and § 25-313.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-310 added (b)(5), (d) and (e); and made related changes.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of (b), and addition of (d) and (e), see § 2(bb) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(bb) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).