Outdoor Music Venue Permit

A Sense of Priorities

Posted in Buildings & People, Live Music, Music, Music Manager, Music Office, Neighborhoods, News Report, Outdoor Music, Outdoor Music Venue Permit, The Code on November 15th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

I haven’t posted on this website much lately. Too much to do, and too little time in which to get it done.

That’s why, when you face certain facts, healthwise, it sharpens your sense of priorities, to the point where one instinctively narrows in on the pertinent facts. (More on the health stuff later, too, as “things” are narrowed down)

In my case, the priorities tend to fall along the line of, “after caring for, as best I can, to show my love and concern for my family and friends, is to do the right thing for my community”. That community is Austin, my main base, for 35 years. Specifically, my community is the Austin Music Community.

To that end, in this post, and those that will follow, I don’t want to accuse people of being Nazis, not even as being, necessarily, ”evil” people … I just want to set the record straight with facts, as I know them, with a bit of opinion, and intuitive reasoning, thrown in. So, bear with me while I attempt to “Keep My Lamps Trimmed and Burnin’ “, and my knife blades sharp, in doing the right thing, to the best of my ability.

The subject that I must focus on is The Austin Music Office, and will be my attempt to expose a current and ongoing campaign to discredit the Music Office’s good work. The campaign that I’m referring to is being conducted, in part, and in my opinion, by Stratus Properties, with CEO Beau Armstrong at the lead.

This is the man who helped bring pesticides and fertilizer, from the Source Point at his company’s Barton Creek Country Club, directly to the outflow of Barton Springs Pool. That, after Mr. Armstrong having to take over duties of the former Stratus CEO, Jim Bob Moffett, when Jim Bob was exposed as owning the company, Freeport Macmoran, that possessed the mineral rights to the largest gold mines in the world, and was the worst kind of polluter, perhaps the world’s worst polluter, of traditional indigenous peoples and lands.

Basically, Status has blown it, on a number of fronts, regarding decision on the specifications for their building materials, and it is causing problems that they are trying to hide, in there current campaign against both long-time, Downtown, Outdoor Music Venues, and the Music Office.

The sound issues are only part of the problems that Mr. Armstrong faces;

W Hotel to Close after More Glass Falls: MyFoxATLANTA.com

The  focus of this series, however, will be on the campaign Mr. Armstrong is currently, in my opinion, waging, and directing, at long-time Downtown venues, and the Music Office Staff, which is, by my account, the best thing to happen to Austin Music, in the past 3 decades.

This is one of best, and most accurate reports I’ve seen. Excellent reporting, by KXAN’s staff and Reporter Jarred Wise:

More to follow.

List of All Outdoor Music Venue Permits

Posted in Outdoor Music Venue Permit on May 19th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 3 Comments

Announcing, a list of all OMV Permit Applications; “Approved” or “Denied”, “Expired”, or “In Review”, by the City of Austin since the City began entering Sound Permits into the AMANDA database in 2009. The list includes:

  • A direct text link to the City of Austin’s official Permit record.
  • The status of all OMV Applications/Permits, as of May 18th, 2011
  • QR Code image to download and print, or creatively replicated in other mediums.

Venue owners/managers,  the QR Code images are provided for download and your use. They can be incorporated into a sign, poster, business card, etc. QR Codes can be replicated in concrete, wood, yarn, Legos,  just about anything that can display the opposing pattern. If anyone needs to know the details of your Music Permit, “show ‘em the Code”QR Code readers are currently being built into newer smartphone cameras. But don’t worry, if your phone’s camera is not QR ready, there are plenty of Apps for that. Need a QR Code Reader App to try it out?

iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad: “Scan”, by QR Code City
Android: “Barcode Scanner” by ZXing
More: iPhoneAndroidBlackberry

Examples to scan on your computer. Imagining that you are a Code Compliance officer, or a disgruntled neighbor outside of a Live Music Venue, at 11 PM, and want to know the cut-off times specified on the Permit:

1. Immediately receive simple text, in the App, detailing the allowed decibel level and operating hours specified by the OMV Permit for a specific venue. In this example, scan this image for the official OMV Permit details for The Mean Eyed Cat:

2. Link directly to the City of Austin’s official Permit record, containing additional information. In this example, scan the image to view the entire OMV Permit for Threadgill’s World Headquarters South:

3. To see the complete list of OMV Permits, on your smartphone, scan this image:

Courtesy of Gary EtieAustin City Permits

Information Source:  Public Records, City of Austin

Kris Bailey for Austin City Council

Posted in City Council, Code Compliance, Live Music, Music, Neighborhoods, Outdoor Music, Outdoor Music Venue Permit, Sound Permit, The Code on April 5th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 1 Comment

Would somebody, please, just get this guy elected. Please?

Endorsement: “The Teapot Party was started to help people like Kris Bailey get elected. We endorse him in his run for Austin City Council. Good Luck Kris. - Willie Nelson

Kris Bailey: “Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World. We need to keep it that way! As a council member, I will support our local music venues, we need an environment in which they can easily do business. We don’t need more restrictions for the industry that we are famous for. Sometimes the City Council doing less would actually accomplish more.

More specifically, this means I don’t think we should be passing out tickets to bar owners, and the permit process to have a show should be simplified. If somebody applies for a permit for a show, they should not have to fight the city for it, they should just get it.”


Sound Ordinances and Permits: “Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World,”  we need to be friendly and understanding towards the people that make it this way!  Our bar owners and music venue owners are constantly running into a brick wall with the city over being allowed to operate.  Some bar managers have been cited multiple times in a single night over trivial issues.  The music community needs an advocate on the City Council and Kris Bailey will do just that.”

Clarification: “To the people talking about voting for Toby Ryan for Austin City Council I want to make it clear, you can vote for us both, I’m not running against Toby, we are running for different seats!”

New Temporary Events
& Outdoor Music Ordinance

Posted in City Council, Code Compliance, Outdoor Music Venue Permit, Sound Permit, Temporary Permits on February 8th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 1 Comment

(Updated 02|10|2011 8:45 am !) A REVISED Draft of the proposed ordinance has been posted on the morning of the Council meeting:

“The city council finds that the City’s existing noise regulations do not provide adequate flexibility to address the unique challenges posed by multi-day music events. Given the prevalence of such events during the upcoming spring festival season, the council finds that the need to improve the  City’s noise regulations constitutes an emergency. Accordingly, this ordinance takes effect immediately upon its passage for the preservation of public peace, health, and safety.”

Read the full Draft Ordinance here (now a broken link!)

Read the Revised Draft Ordinance here
(3 Excerpts are provided below)

Sign up for Thursday’s Council meeting
The Austin Music Community should to be heard.

Excerpt 1, the intro:

Temporary Events & Outdoor Music Ordinance
Page 1 of 18
COA Law Department
Responsible Att’y.: Brent Lloyd

ORDINANCE NO. ____________________

City Code Section 9-2-1 (Definitions) is amended to delete the definition of “Director,” to add the following new definitions, and to renumber the remaining definitions alphabetically:

(3) MUSIC OFFICE means the division or  working group of a city department designated by the city manager with advisory and administrative functions related to permitting of outdoor live music.

(5) RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY means the portion of a site or property that is zoned and used as residential.

(6) RESPONSIBLE PARTY means a sound engineer, audio professional, or other person authorized to make decisions regarding the use of sound  equipment permitted under this chapter.

(9) TEMPORARY EVENT IMPACT PLAN means a plan  required in connection with approval of a temporary event permit under Section 9-2-52 (Temporary Event Impact Plan).

(10) SPECIAL EVENTS OFFICE means the division or working group of a city department designated by the city manager with planning, coordinating, and overseeing special events requiring city approval.

(11) SPRING FESTIVAL SEASON means Wednesday through Sunday during the third week of March, unless the city manager designates an alternate five-day period for a particular year.

(12) TEMPORARY CHANGE  OF USE PERMIT means a permit issued by the building or fire code official to authorize a temporary increase  in occupancy levels allowed by applicable technical codes for a property or structure.

(13) TEMPORARY USE PERMIT means a  permit issued by the Planning and Development Review Department  under Chapter 25-2, Article 6 (Temporary Uses) to authorize a temporary activity not otherwise allowed as a principal or accessory use in a base zoning district.

Excerpt 2, new “Live Music Permits” category:


Excerpt 3, the closing:

“PART 11. The city council finds that the City’s existing noise regulations do not provide adequate flexibility to address the unique challenges posed by multi-day music events. Given the prevalence of such events during the upcoming spring festival season, the council finds that the need to improve the  City’s noise regulations constitutes an emergency. Accordingly, this ordinance takes effect immediately upon its passage for the preservation of public peace, health, and safety.”

Bigger Picture

Posted in City Council, Music, Neighborhoods, Outdoor Music Venue Permit, Sound Permit on January 15th, 2011 by Gary Etie – 3 Comments

Noise & Sound Ordinance Changes Are Imminent:

There is no mention, at this time, on the City of Austin website (See City Council Draft Agenda for Jan 27th) but if you are interested or involved, bookmark that link, and help me keep an eye out for the addition of an Item that is going to have a significant impact on the Austin Music Community. Note: “Draft agendas are subject to change without notice”.

On Jan 27th, or soon thereafter, the Council is going to propose significant changes to the Noise and Sound Ordinance.

Whether they intend to amend the existing ordinances, or create a completely new  sets of rules and regulations to guide the City of Austin in reviewing, approving, and hearing appeals, for Outdoor Music Venue and Sound Permits, and enforcing the ordinance, I don’t know. Several interested parties appear to be heavily involved in the discussion and formation of these changes. The Music Commission voted on recommendations on Nov. 1, 2010. As far as I can tell, this year, thing are much less transparent, and will only see the light of day when added to the Agenda.

One big question is, will the Council reinstate the expired, multi-day Sound Permit, as, again, we are stuck with the existing 1 day Sound Permit, or the year-long Outdoor Music Venue Permit, as the only 2 options for an outdoor music event, and that won’t cut it, especially during SxSW.

Listen, in the video below (32:00 ), to the discussion at Thursday night’s Council hearing, when Council Member Sheryl Cole asked about Lustre Pearl’s ability to have an outdoor event during SxSW.

The listen, closely (35:10) to what Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez says about discussions that are going on, referring to the revival of last year’s first-ever,  multi-day, 96 Hour Sound Permit.

I suspect that several well run organizations have gotten their PR campaigns and lobbying tools in order, and may get actual consideration of some of the backward looking suggestions that are being presented to Council. At the moment, it does not feel like this is going to turn out well, for the music community, and the creative class in our town, unless something is done to counter the forces that desperately needed protection of their dominant position, or real estate investments.

Vanity forces me to watch my 3 minutes (at 6:15) but it’s painful, and you may just want to skip it. I was contacted by Lustre Pearl only 3 days before the Council’s hearing of the Appeal, which left little time to prepare, and by postponing the hearing until 10:30 PM, the people who had donated their time to me had to go to work, and I was limited to 3 minutes. My halting attempt to edit 12 minutes down to 3, on the fly, are apparent.

The vote and the public discussion were all choreographed ahead of time (watch Council Member Martinez closely), so it was all for naught, anyway, for me and about 30 other people who gave up the 8 hours from their day, and their jobs, because the hearing got postponed from it’s originally scheduled 4 PM slot in the Council Agenda (another nice little trick, since entertainment and music business people have to go to work, at night, and can’t stick around to speak and/or show support at 10:30 at night!). My plea to Council, to follow the law, and adhere to the rules and regulations in the Code, was in vain.

As the Lustre Pearl hearing concluded, as the rest of the crowd exited the Council Chamber, I just stood and looked, incredulously, at Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, as the last item on the Agenda was taken up by Council. The Mayor Pro Tem decided to come down from the dais, walk up to me, and  tell me that I had “copped an attitude”.

And you know, he’s right. The way that Permit appeal was handled, in my opinion, was a shame. Neighborhood organizations are specifically barred from the appeal of approved Outdoor Music Venue Permits, in the CBD. It is specifically spelled out in the Code, as part of the Noise and Sound Ordinance that was passed only 2 years ago.

Instead, the letter of the law, and the spirit of the Code was circumvented. The economy was trotted out and blamed for things not working out as the Council had planned, when they zoned the area CBD, at the request of, and by a vote of, the Rainey area residents themselves. Misinformation, fear mongering and overt overstatements of safety concerns were invoked by neighborhood organizations reps, in order to try to salvage their apparently unwise real estate investments.

So I reckon I do have an attitude, and now, a deep distrust, to go with it. I thought we, as a City, as a music community, were better than that.

Reckon me this … what’s the use of rules, if the same people who are entrusted to pass the rules don’t follow the rules, themselves, when it’s politically inconvenient?

Source: Council Meeting Info Center | Austin City Connection The Official Web site of the City of Austin