Organizers of the newly launched D.C. Nightlife Hospitality Association have named longtime gay nightlife advocate and Washington Blade business columnist Mark Lee as its executive director.
An Oct. 26 statement announcing the formation of the new group says it was founded by owners and operators of local bars, restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment establishments as a non-profit trade association.
The statement says it will represent “the interests of alcohol-licensed businesses comprising the city’s vibrant and growing nighttime economy.”
Among those sitting on the group’s 11-member board of directors, according to the statement, is Jim Boyle, an official with the D.C. gay bars Number Nine and Town Danceboutique.
On the day the statement announcing the nightlife association’s formation was released, Lee testified before a D.C. City Council hearing on the association’s behalf in opposition to a bill calling for stricter noise regulations for nightlife businesses.
Lee and representatives of about a dozen individual nightlife businesses, including the highly popular 9:30 Club, told the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that the proposed restrictions would be harmful to nightlife businesses and would force many to close outdoor spaces during peak nighttime hours. Lee called on the Council to defeat bill, the Nightlife Regulation Amendment Act of 2015. The measure was introduced by Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large.)
Among other things, the bill would prohibit amplified, recorded or other music in outdoor spaces operated by nightlife businesses such as roof decks and patios after midnight.
“Enforcement of existing noise regulations in a fair and reasonable manner is the smarter approach, not prohibiting activities that enliven our city and fill its tax coffers,” Lee said.
Representatives of local civic associations and some Advisory Neighborhood Commissions have said the bill is needed to curtail noise that they say spills into residential areas, disturbing the peace and quiet in their neighborhoods and homes during late night hours.