Chinatown Bars Challenge Noise Measurement Legislation

Feb 10, 2015


Bars and restaurants in Oahu’s Chinatown district are drawing attention to a piece of legislation that would limit the volume levels of their establishments.

House Bill 227 would allow the Honolulu Liquor Commission to regulate the sound level of any business with a liquor license that’s situated in a populated area. The measure limits volume to 55 decibels from 7-10pm and then 60 decibels from 10pm till 7am. For comparison, the Hearing Care Center says 60 decibels is around the level of normal conversation, where as a hair-dryer is about 90 decibels, and a Jack-Hammer is around 120.  Bars violating the proposed 60 level could be fined or lose their liquor license.  But opponents say that the bill imposes an unrealistic expectation.  Joshua Hancock is the co-owner of Downbeat Lounge in Chinatown. 

Opponents have started an on-line petition against the measure.  The House committee tabled their discussion yesterday, and rescheduled the hearing for Friday at 9am.