Neighbors Unhappy with Music Coming from Deer Park Villa

Here is an example of the style in which I like to solve problems. Deer Park Villa is an old institution that has been an outdoor restaurant and venue for decades. Nestled in a residential neighborhood, yet also a favored spot for weddings and other loud gatherings, noise complaints were often made, and there seemed to be no solution. Neighbors were split: some were in favor of trying to shut down the business, while others enjoyed the sound of happy people. Our noise ordinance, designed in quieter times to allow the coexistence of residents and the celebratory nature of Fairfax, was not effective in cooling the waters.

While several of my fellow council members waste to let the courts sort out the dispute, I volunteered to talk to the owner, to see if something could be worked out. What we discovered is that when weddings were scheduled, a sound system would be brought in by a hired DJ, under the control of the celebrants. When the crowd of people moved from one area of the compound to another, the sound would get turned up, because the DJ would often be a hundred feet or more from the crowd.

The solution turned out to be an investment by the owner in a new sound system, with many small, good quality speakers around the compound, pointing down, that could be turned on and off depending on where the people were. Another component was an in-house DJ, that knew how to run this system so that celebrants got good sound, at the right levels, and the neighbors did not. The end result has been an increase in business, and a dramatic decrease in complaints, because of the much lower sound levels.

This approach is a signature of how I like to solve problems. Rather than arguing that one or the other side is wrong, and the other is right, the answer is often a different one, one that allows all parties to be able to live with the situation.

When we see that we are all a part of the same community, and that our interests are often not diametrically opposed, there may well be a place in the middle where everyone can be happy, together.