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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Neighbors and Arts At The Armory Representatives Face Off At Recent Public Safey Meeting.

The management team, as well as the owner, of the Arts at the Armory Center on Highland Avenue left Monday’s Committee on Public Health and Safety meeting with plenty of recommendations from both neighbors and officials on how to decrease noise output during their live music shows. Everything from a soundproof fence for the back parking lot, moving the speakers inside the venue closer to the front, and completely eliminating drums from performances were just some of the solutions that came out of the hour long meeting held in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

Opening testimony from abutters painted two very different pictures of the establishment as some described living near the venue as torture, while others insist they hear very little to nothing. This prompted Chairman and Alderman-at-Large William White to propose a field test where he and other members of the committee would visit the site to hear and experience what the neighbors do.

When it was their turn, representatives from the Armory touted their contribution to Somerville’s economy, as well as, the over $200,000 already spent on soundproofing through the installation of double-pane windows and insulating the roof of the building with expandable spray foam. They also acknowledged, however, that their self-policing needs improvement to prevent post-show bad behavior which is at the forefront of neighbors’ complaints and promised to explore all noise-reducing recommendations offered by attendees.

One lingering aspect of the argument are the pending results of a sound study conducted by renowned analyst David Coate. The Armory successfully petitioned and received a grant to have the study conducted to see where they could make further improvements. All sides are hoping the results come within 30 days, so the recommendations can be utilized in conjunction with the on-site visit proposed by Alderman White.

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