Downtown residents renew block party noise complaints - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Downtown residents renew block party, First Friday noise complaints

A First Friday event in Chinatown A First Friday event in Chinatown
Sandy Pohl Sandy Pohl
Rich Richardson Rich Richardson
Brandon Reid Brandon Reid
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hundreds of people jammed Hotel Street in Chinatown, lining up to get into nightclubs for the monthly First Friday event. And that's a bit of a problem, according to some area residents as well as the Chinatown Business and Community Association, which has filed a formal request with the Honolulu Liquor Commission to address the noise that comes from First Friday.

Some of the complaints focus on loud, low-frequency noise from some of the clubs.

"This is a mixed use neighborhood, where the residents are, so there's always a little of that conflict and tension between the residents and the bars and restaurants," said Sandy Pohl of the Louis Pohl Art Gallery. Pohl is one of the members of the Arts District that puts on First Friday. It also helps in organizing four other street party events that shut down Nuuanu Avenue and include food, music and street sales of alcohol. (Such alcohol sales are not part of First Friday.)

Organizers said the noise is to be expected, but they also make sure that the events are done -- and the noise stopped -- at 10 p.m. "We're really conscious of that," said Pohl. "We want to make sure that the residents are not disturbed more than necessary."

One of the block party events is Cinco de Mayo, which is scheduled for Saturday night. The Chinatown association contends the noise and street alcohol sales are disruptive. However, supporters said such events bring more awareness about the neighborhood.

It also brings more dollars, as people pay for parking, or, "They're buying from a restaurant or something to drink after they walk around. A souvenir of some sort," said Rich Richardson of ARTS at Marks Garage, one of the original organizers of First Friday. "They're spending 30 bucks, on average, apiece, and so that brings about three million dollars to this little neighborhood per year."

One bar owner who actually lives in the area said while there may be occasional problems, he doesn't know about that many complaints about the noise. "Maybe a complaint that happens twice a month," said Brandon Reid of The Manifest, a bar on Hotel Street. "And we're talking about First Friday, which we all plan for and can accept. We all know that's coming."

The formal request asks for the noise issue to be placed on the Honolulu Liquor Commission's agenda when liquor licenses for Chinatown bars with music licenses come up for renewal.

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