Pub fined for music level

Nostrand Avenue Pub, right, was fined for noise complaints from tenants in the adjacent building. Credit: Google Maps

Music from a Crown Heights Pub violated music noise level limits inside a residential building. A new tenant moved into a residential building in Crown Heights and complained about the music coming from the adjacent building, the Nostrand Avenue Pub located at 658 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn. The residential building owner had recently renovated the residential units. The Pub’s sound system included four Infinity speakers and one iPhone. Prior to the new tenant’s complaints, the Pub operated with the same sound system for seven years without any complaint.

Anthony Mascolo, a building inspector, inspected the music level coming into the tenant’s unit from the Pub and found that the Pub violated the Administrative Code of the City of New York  on two different nights. The Code prohibits music attributed to a commercial establishment, like the Pub, from measuring louder than 42 dB(A), as measured with a sound lever meter, inside the residential unit. The inspector recorded sound levels form the Pub’s music system of 53 dB(A) on one night and of 63 dB(A) on another night. Both readings exceeded the Code’s limit. The inspector performed three more inspections and found no violations. The Pub was issued two summonses for both violations of the permitted sound level.

At the hearing before an OATH Hearing Officer the Pub argued that the residential building’s renovations were at fault for allowing the Pub’s music to permeate the residential unit. The Pub argued that it had no way of knowing there was a music issue because, prior to these two violations, the Pub had used the same sound system for seven years without complaint. The Department of Environmental Protection argued that it was the Pub’s responsibility to keep its sound system music inside the establishment. Hearing Officer Ashley ruled that the Pub violated the Code and the Pub appealed.

On appeal the Pub argued that the Hearing Officer was unfair and biased and did not let the Pub make its arguments properly. The Oath Appeals Board rejected the argument, finding that the Pub had ample opportunity to make its argument for both summonses. The Appeals Board affirmed Hearing Officer Ashley’s decision and imposed a total fine of $6,400.

DEP v. 658 Nostrand Avenue Pub Corp., OATH Hearing Division Appeals Unit, Appeal No. 2000537 (August 13, 2020).

By: Sarah Cobble (Sarah Cobble is a former CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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