legal differences of 'Project' or 'Commercial' studio

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by garysun, May 26, 2007.

  1. garysun

    garysun Active Member

    May 27, 2007
    Brooklyn NY
    Home Page:
    Thanks this is helpful.
    I would like to answer these questions and see what you think.

    The nature of the neighbors beef is sound which he's never even mentioned to me ever, just went right to the authorities.

    I'm not sure if I need a local business license, maybe I have one...
    I do have a tax id# and a dba and I've filed taxes for the studio for 2 years now.

    My studio is a simple setup in my house, no special construction was made.
    Do you think I still need a business permit?

    I have not yet been cited, only a complaint so far, but it was a malicious complaint that also mentioned my business which threatens my whole livelihood.
    No income = no mortgage payment = no home
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Well as long as you agree to please unnerstand... I ain't a lawyer, so what I say probably doesn't hold much water...

    OK.. he's evidently complaining about the "nuisance" of low frequency that "invades" his property... OUCH!

    Like has been pointed out... a tax ID and dba only allow you to file sales and use taxes, etc... Actually operating a business out of your residence may take a local permit... That lawyer I mentioned will know for sure.

    Again... it's probably up to the local zoning, township/city government that's going to dictate what can and can't be operated as a business.

    I hear ya' Gary... but the bottom line is that your local laws can mandate a lot more things that are not required on the state and federal level... Get the lawyer!!!
  3. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    Does the neighbor have a dog? Are there any dogs in the neighborhood? What's the traffic noise like during peak hours? What about the noise from the trash man?

    Look in the yellow pages for environmental testing specialists. Insurance companies and attornies use them. They will come document what the normal dB levels are in your neighborhood, and testify in court if need be.

    I provided these services for a garage band in Broken Arrow, OK. The story made the MTV Music News, which then filtered to the radio stations. A neighbor was upset because the kids were kids, but used their house/studio as an excuse, saying that the noise was above the legal limits. Truth was, we could never measure the band outside of the home unmasked, because the complaintants two german shepards would not shut up. They were EASILY over 75dB at the fence/property line. Then the high school band (about 1 mile away) rehearsed every morning, and they were pretty loud. The ambient traffic was louder than the band. Sometimes you have to get someone in to cut through the crap and show that you are not going to bend over.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    A lot will depend on the noise ordinance and how it is written. The town where I live is a college town and the noise ordinance is very lose and can be interpreted in any number of ways. I think the city did it this way to allow the police to have some discretionary powers when they go out to investigate a noise complaint.

    I too was called upon a couple of years ago to measure a noise that some neighbors found objectionable and ran into the same problem that sheet mentioned. The sound they were saying was objectionable (an exhaust fan) was so far down in the ambient noise that I could not measure it without measuring the surrounding ambient noise although I could hear it as a separate noise when I was on the property. I finally brought a DAT recorder and recorded the sound and took it back and looked at it in Wavelab and was finally able to isolate the sound using some filtering plug ins.

    I am sure that someone. as sheet mentioned. who does this for a living could have done this with more sophisticated test equipment on site.

    I hate to ask this but are you on friendly terms with the neighbor who complained or are there other underlying problem and this is his way of getting back at you for something else that is upsetting him?

    Best of luck and I hope this can be worked out without having to resort to legal means.
  5. garysun

    garysun Active Member

    May 27, 2007
    Brooklyn NY
    Home Page:
    Thank you all for your help this is HUGE!
    I'd say the sound is pretty close to ambient and may actually be less than the street sounds they hear on the opposite side of the house.
    I thught I was on good terms with the neighbor, but it turns out he's actually a little nuts and has manged to make enemies with allthe surrounding neighbors by filing complaints with the town.
    I'm going to meet with the town code enforcer tomorrow to discuss, but honestly I'm more concerned about my business than the noise.
    That's what I want to protect the most. I think the neighbor would be just as happy getting me into trouble even if the noise did stop.
    I want to be assured that I am completely within my rights.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Gary- It sounds like things can be worked out. Don't be worried, just keep doing what you are doing. Do your homework. There is almost certainly a legal way for you to run your business from your home. You have to find out what the laws are and comply with them. Yeah, it will cost money, but pretty much everything about running a business does.

    I'd make an appointment with the SBA or a lawyer or both before your meeting with the town code enforcers so that you can tell them that you have taken steps in that direction. Things you should say.
    1. That you will do anything legally required to operate your business.
    2. That you are taking steps to make sure you are in compliance (e.g. the SBA, the lawyer, finding an environmental testing specialist).
    3. That you would appreciate any information they have on legal requirements.
    4. That you are trying to maintain good relations with your neighbors.
    Things you shouldn't say.
    1. Anything that is not the truth.
    2. Anything that you can't back up with scientific data.
    3. Any promises that you had not already planned to keep.

    You want to have (and project) the attitude that you are in this for the long haul and you plan to be on the right side of the law. You want the code enforcers' help with this. You expect to be in business for a long time paying the taxes that pay their salaries. In most places these guys see their mission as helping businesses survive - not shutting them down.
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