Amid pushback, city staffers pull sound ordinance changes


After music industry groups pushed back against a proposal to repeal and replace the city’s sound ordinance, city staffers have decided not to bring the measure to the Austin City Council next week.

“It is our understanding that a group of stakeholders would like to work together to develop alternative recommendations,” Alex Lopez, deputy director of the city’s Economic Development Department, said Friday.

The repeal and replace ordinance was designed to incorporate an agent of change principle, the idea that an existing business should be protected from pressures against its operations from newer actors who move in nearby. In other words, the burden of soundproofing falls to the condo or hotel that builds next to a live music venue, if the live music venue was there first.

STAY ON TOP OF THE NEWS: Click here to sign up for our Breaking News emails

It also introduced a new entertainment license for outdoor music venues that would extend the renewal period for a sound permit from one year to two.

But music industry groups say they didn’t realize implementing the new policies would lead to a full rewrite of the city’s sound code, which advocacy group Austin Music People’s executive chairman, Bobby Garza, described as “the ordinance that underpins the absolute health of the entire music ecosystem.” They also worried that the measures didn’t go far enough to protect venues.

RELATED: Agent of Change: Why music venues say proposal isn’t enough

Rebecca Reynolds, director of the Music Venue Alliance Austin, another industry advocacy group, plans to assemble an informal working group to examine the policy in more detail over the summer.

James Russell, the executive director of the Trail of Lights Foundation, said several stakeholders will be at the informal meetings, including representatives from neighborhood associations, the Red River Merchants Association, the Austin Hotel & Lodging Association and music advocates. Russell will also attend after heading up the unrelated Visitor Impact Task Force.

“It is not city staff led,” Russell said of the working group. “The goal is mutual success. Neighborhoods want to be able to enjoy their lifestyle, and music venues want to be able to put out music for everyone to enjoy.”

“The neighborhoods want the music people to be successful and the music venues want the residents to be able to live in peace.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Giving City: Need cited for providing foster parent info in Spanish
Giving City: Need cited for providing foster parent info in Spanish

For Spanish-speakers in the Austin area seeking to foster or adopt a child in the care of the state, there are very limited opportunities to do so. That’s because the required information and training sessions here are not offered in Spanish. In fact, Austin is the only region in Texas that does not offer the required information in Spanish....
NOW: More than 100 students walk out of Austin middle school, demanding stricter gun laws
NOW: More than 100 students walk out of Austin middle school, demanding stricter gun laws

10:15 a.m. update: More than 100 students calling for stricter gun laws walked out of Bailey Middle School on Friday morning. The students filtered out of the school chanting, “we can make a change” and “save our schools.” Some carried signs, including one that said “17 killed, 40 hurt,” in reference...
SOUTHEAST AUSTIN: SWAT responding to possibly armed person in Montopolis
SOUTHEAST AUSTIN: SWAT responding to possibly armed person in Montopolis

9:50 a.m. update: Austin police say a man has barricaded himself in the 6900 block of Villita Avenida in Southeast Austin and may be armed. SWAT units were at the scene in the Montopolis neighborhood, and other officers have secured the area, police said. Earlier: Austin police are searching for a person who could be armed after a reported disturbance...
Heavy rain prompts New Braunfels to close Comal River for recreation
Heavy rain prompts New Braunfels to close Comal River for recreation

New Braunfels officials have banned recreational use on the Comal River there after heavy rains pummeled Central Texas early Friday. “This closure will remain in effect until further notice,” the city of New Braunfels said in a statement. Authorities cited high water flow rates and said water was flowing over the Tube Chute Dam. &ldquo...
Middletown school on lockdown after student acts suspicious
Middletown school on lockdown after student acts suspicious

A Middletown high school is on lockdown this morning. A notice from Bishop Fenwick High School this morning states: “Bishop Fenwick High School is currently on a ‘soft lockdown.’ This means that teaching continues in the building, but no one will be permitted in or out of the building until the lockdown is lifted. Everyone is safe...
More Stories