The Code

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:

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.

Austin Music Commission, On Demand

Posted in City of Austin, Live Music, Outdoor Music, The Code on May 3rd, 2011 by Gary Etie – 3 Comments

The good news … Austin Music Commission meetings are now available on demand. An archive of all 2011 meetings will be available soon.

The bad news … an ongoing, highly coordinated effort by DANA and DAA to continue to attempt to introduce  amendments to the Noise & Sound Ordinance that would be highly detrimental to Live Music in Austin, Texas.

The best news … We have some very smart citizens serving on the Austin Music Commission. In the following 2 videos, those individuals point out the folly of the amendments being proposed by the two downtown organizations, and tell them to, basically, go back to the drawing board.

Item D2 – “Briefing by Bill Brice of Downtown Austin Alliance, Josh Allen of Pecan Street Owner’s Association and Jamie Lagarde of Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association about issues related to sound downtown.”

(Part 1 of 2):

(Part 2 of 2):

Powered by © 2011

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!”

Response to Jovita’s report in Austin Powell’s “Off The Record” Column

Posted in Music, Sound Permit, The Code on April 3rd, 2011 by Gary Etie – 2 Comments

Received a nice shout out in Austin Powell‘s “Off the Record” column in the Austin Chronicle’s recent April Fools Day issue. Below the relevant quote from the column is my 3-part response:

Permission To Speak
Off the RecordAustin PowellFri., April 1, 2011

“Local booker Joyce DiBona describes Jovita’s issues with the city during South by Southwest as “a comedy of errors.” Despite years of successful unofficial events during the music portion of the Festival, the South Austin venue neglected to apply for the Temporary Use Permit and Sound Permit necessary to host live music.

Public Assembly Code Enforcement officials subsequently forced Jovita’s to move its annual Twangfest inside on Thursday, March 17. That’s when Gary Etie of Austin City Permits went to work. Over the next 24 hours, the local consultant sent 47 e-mails to city officials, requesting the expedition of necessary permits for the following day’s Irish showcase, while noting provisions in the city code that would allow for it and having the Fire Department informally (and later officially) approve the temporary setup.

Due to deadline constraints, the city denied the request. Jovita’s moved a portion of the event indoors, canceled some acts, and took a calculated risk by having SXSW Keynote Speaker Sir Bob Geldof still perform outside as planned, after which Jovita’s received two citations that were later dropped.

“This was a case of old Austin not really assimilating to all of the bureaucratic changes that have taken place,” says DiBona, “and it was an omission that we paid for.” Part of the confusion faced by Jovita’s as well as South by San Jose and Home Slice Pizza, among others, boils down to the poorly timed changes to the Austin sound ordinance, passed by City Council on Feb. 10.

The amendment requires a temporary event impact plan to be approved by the city’s music office and office of special events for 24-hour permits, and for multiday special events, a city official must also give 14 days’ notice of the events to homeowners and registered neighborhood organizations within 600 feet of the site.

In other words, that two-week buffer left live music venues less than three weeks to submit the proper applications for SXSW. Even so, the number of special event permits approved rose from 37 to 45 this year.

“We had sandwich shops and dry cleaners that knew the rules,” counters Don Pitts of the Austin Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office. “There should be a clear-cut deadline, because it’s difficult for us to honor last-minute requests, and frankly, more planning needs to go into events than that.”

Pitts says his office will be more proactive over the next year in educating venues about the process and requirements. Thankfully, construction has already begun in Bastrop on a new entertainment complex – similar to the Villa Museproject – that will help alleviate these issues. For more on this breaking development, see “Dome Sweet Dome,” and “Dome and Domer,” News.”

3-part Response:

1. The Devil Is In The Details: Mar 31, 2011, 12:02 pm

Austin, thank you. To clarify the issue of “deadline constraints” – The 24-hour Live Music Permit does NOT require a “14 days notice”, that applies only to the Multi-day Permit. Your sentence states that correctly, but the way it reads, readers might get the impression that the 24-hour permit requires “14 days notice”.

On the three weeks buffer: The Feb 10th Ordinance allows for 14 days, after application, for Notification for a Multi-day permit, and requires 14 days to pass AFTER Notification goes out, prior to the Permit being issued. … that means it COULD take 28 days, a full 4 weeks after applying, for a Permit to be issued. One could have applied on Feb 16th, 6 days after the new ordinance was passed, and still could have failed to receive a permit, the way the Code is currently written.

Inexplicably, the ordinance allows 30-days for the Music Office to come up with the required Temporary Event Impact Plan … “the music office shall provide a recommended temporary event impact plan to the accountable official within thirty (30) days after receiving the application” How that actually can affect a permit applications timeliness, I do not know.

As it happened, a deadline of Feb 25th was declared, for Multi-day permits, for the March 16th SxSW Music start date, meaning Notification would go out within 4 – 5 days (the following Tuesday) … I found out about this Feb 25th deadline on … Feb 25th … and I try my best to keep up with these things.

That means live music venues were left with, not three weeks, as stated in the column, but two weeks after the new ordinance was passed, to submit the proper applications.

Then March 4th, a full 12 days before SxSW Music, was declared the deadline for 24-Hour Live Music Permit applications, even though neither a notification, nor a 14-day wait period, is required. Neither of the deadlines were properly announced, and neither are written in the Code.

Big warning – if you think they messed it up this time, by being given direct access to the Code writing process(?) Downtown (DANA) is announcing, proudly, that round 2 is coming. The numerous mistakes in the Feb 10th ordinance were bad enough, many of which were taken directly from a DANA letter to the Mayor & Council. ( )

2. Trouble, You Can’t Fool Me | Apr 01, 2011, 02:39 pm

Austin, and Chronicle readers, note, the fox in the henhouse:

Feb 9, 2011 – First Draft version of the new “Temporary Event & Live Music” Ordinance appeared on the Council Agenda web page.

Feb 10th – The Draft was revised, and became Final, approximately 2 hrs before Council went into session (10 AM). The ordinance was rushed into law, on an emergency basis, on the consent agenda, with NO public or council discussion, at least not while Council was in session. ;^o

Feb 11th: DANA claims the leadership role in the changes that were made, along with claims that the amendments helped clarify the Code.

“DANA Supports Sound Permit Changes
Friday, 11 February 2011 14:15
by Josh Allen and Jamie Lagarde

On Thursday, February 10, Austin City Council passed a series of noise related code changes that were principally focused around Multi-day Special Event Permits. DANA supported these revisions because, even more important to downtown residents, there were also broader code changes that impact all sound permits such as measuring sound at the source instead of the property line, requiring permit signs posted at all outdoor music venues, reducing the appeal time frame, and defining the factors used by the Music Department in granting new Outdoor Music Venue (OMV) permits. Council also took the opportunity to reorganize the code which should reduce confusion in the community. Issues related to noise downtown has become an increasingly larger issue for downtown residents, and DANA has been working with APD, City Council and staff on proposed changes.

The code revisions passed on February 10 are a first step at solving some critical noise related issues downtown. City Council Members have heard DANA’s concerns, and realize this is only a first step. DANA supported the revision and reiterated residents concerns when address the second phase of the sound ordinance revision. For more details on DANA’s position letter, click here.

The City’s Music Department and City Council are working on further revisions to the sound ordinance that address the most critical issues such as cut off times, and overall noise ordinance enforcement. DANA will continue to take a leadership role in making sure that the changes create a balance downtown where great downtown establishments thrive but residents can also sleep at night. We are excited about the Council’s changes so far but the most critical work is ahead of us. … Contact us at”

3. (No Title) | Apr 01, 2011, 03:14 pm

… stayed up all night, first chance to read & study the 18 page document.

5:01 AM, Feb 11, 2011: I posted a warning about what I felt certain would be a catastrophe, if allowed to remain in the Ordinance:

A corrective ordinance was passed, to fix that problem, and DANA responded:

“Sound Debate Phase 2 is Coming
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 18:29

Amplified sound, noise, music and live music. There is a difference in these, especially when it comes to outdoor music near downtown residences. The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA) is a strong supporter of Live Music.

Live Music is why we supported the recent changes to the Sound Ordinance adopted by Council to create Multi-day Special Event Permits for outdoor live music, which are most applicable during SXSW. That ordinance revision also simplified the code, reducing confusion for music promoters, entertainment businesses and residents alike. In short, the code revision was a first step in the right direction as a stop gap for SXSW to once again grace our downtown with fine music, a great time and significant economic benefit.

In the scurry to finalize the ordinance in time for SXSW preparations, the ordinance changed the place sound is measured from the property line to the source. On March 3, Council will consider a corrective ordinance to return the measurement of sound to the property line.

DANA is concerned about measuring sound at the ground-floor property line as the problematic sound from the rooftop deck shoots over the top of sound meters. Nevertheless, DANA believes the location for appropriate measurement of sound should be part of a larger conversation, in what some Council Members have called “phase two” of Sound Ordinance revisions.

We support the corrective amendment and look forward to continuing our work with City staff, City Council and our fellow stakeholders during “phase two.” Together, we can create a balance downtown where great entertainment establishments thrive and residents sleep at night, in accordance with DANA’s mission to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and play downtown.

We always want to hear from you. If you have comments or questions, please let us know! Contact us:”

Combine the statements in the 2 DANA letters; couple that with the unanimous 7 – 0 “walking quorum” vote that took away Lustre Pearl’s approved Outdoor Music Venue Permit, against staff recommendation, and what do you have? … You tell me.

Thank you,
Gary Etie – Austin City Permits

New Multi-day Sound Permit In the Works

Posted in Outdoor Music Venue Permit, Sound Permit, The Code on December 31st, 2010 by Gary Etie – Comments Off

A new or amended Noise and Sound Ordinance was rumored to be coming up for a hearing on the City Council’s Agenda for Jan 13.  So far, it has not made its way into the Draft Agenda, on the City’s website.

Let’s all hope it shows up soon, or, for one thing, a lot of local, national, and international companies, looking to spend their budgets on multi-day outdoor music events, are going to be up a creek. How can you plan for something if the passage of critical ordinaces affecting your plans are held up, until the last minute, from year to year.

Last year, on Feb 11, 2010, the Austin City Council declared an emergency, and passed, by a unanimous 7-0 vote, a new and much needed 96-Hour Sound Permit. This added a third “Music Permit” option to the existing 1-day Sound Permit, and 1-year Outdoor Music Venue Permit (OMVP), for businesses who wanted to do a multi-day, outdoor music event, but did not need or want to apply for a 1-year Permit. That Ordinance, and with it, the 96-hour Sound Permit, expired 4-1/2 months later, on June 30, 2010.

In August of 2009, I had requested a meeting of the applicable City of Austin department managers, warning that the new Outdoor Music Venue Permit requirements, put in place the previous March, had created a situation, where, if additional action weren’t taken, to create a new,  Multi-day Sound Permit, many business owners, local, national and international, would find themselves unable to spend their budget dollars, producing their planned multi-day events, during the days of the next SxSW Festival.

At that meeting, it was agreed that the existing options in the Code did not provide a legal remedy for an existing, growing business and regulatory need. As a result, the Live Music Task Force, the Music Commission, myself, and others, worked to craft and recommend the draft of a new, 96-Hour Sound Permit Ordinance. The City of Austin took action, approved the ordinance, and remedied that need.

In that 4-1/2 months, between the Feb 11th passage, and the June 30 expiration, the following businesses received a 1-Day, 96-Hour, or 1-year Permit, and made a substantial contribution to the Austin economy.

The following list says more than any “picture worth a thousand words”, or I, myself, could hope to say, about the vitality of the music and creative businesses, in our town. Love you, Austin:

  1. Austin New Church
  2. Club de Ville
  3. Creekside Lounge
  4. Red 7
  5. The Wave
  6. Club Primo’s
  7. Uchi Sushi
  8. Centro De Alabanza El Camino Cristiano
  9. Red Shed Tavern
  10. Ethan Lee Smith
  11. El Tejano
  12. Cheer Up Charlie’s
  13. YMCA of Austin
  14. Austin Motel
  15. Snack Bar
  16. Custom Tattoo’s from the Soul
  17. Austin Speed Shop
  18. Juan in a Million
  19. El Tejano
  20. Weirdo’s
  21. Mother Egans Irish Pub
  22. Hyde Park Bar & Grill
  23. Texas Music Museum
  24. Home Away
  25. Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
  26. School of Rock
  27. Irie Bean Coffee Bar
  28. Messiah Lutheran Church
  29. Ranch 616
  30. Shear Madness
  31. 94 Rainey St
  32. Freddie’s Place
  33. Guero’s Taco Bar *
  34. Speakeasy
  35. Austin Peace Pipez
  36. Tiniest Bar in Texas
  37. Austin Pets Alive
  38. Cedar Door
  39. Clive Bar
  40. The Liberty
  41. Galaxy Room
  42. Dog & Duck Pub
  43. Taco Deli *
  44. Music Gym *
  45. Waterloo Records
  46. Club 1808
  47. Trophy’s
  48. Mugshots
  49. Shangri-La
  50. Lustre Pearl
  51. Headhunters Club
  52. Dorham’s Backyard
  53. Aussie’s Bar & Grill
  54. Encore
  55. Emo’s Annex
  56. Localiter
  57. Lovey’s Loot Boutique
  58. The Rooftop
  59. Cream Vintage
  60. MWTX – Transmission Entertainment *
  61. Do512 *
  62. Rare Mag – Official Guiness St Patrick’s Day Party *
  63. Urban Outfitters *
  64. High Beams Events
  65. Hoeks Pizza
  66. Boite Enterprises
  67. Union Park
  68. El Rival Club
  69. Joe’s Bar & Grill
  70. Lightning Mfg
  71. Hill’s Cafe
  72. Wide Angle Group
  73. Congress Avenue Baptist Church
  74. The Boiling Point (sic) Pot?
  75. Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation
  76. Lanai Rooftop Lounge
  77. ProArts Collective
  78. Empire Room
  79. White Mountain Foods
  80. Ski Shores Cafe
  81. East First Concert Hall *
  82. Sustainable Waves *
  83. Doc’s Motorworks
  84. Chupacabra
  85. Lovely Austin Boutique
  86. Falling Whistles; Lupe Arts
  87. Austin Wine & Music Festival
  88. DW Studio Productions
  89. ATX Sports Bar *
  90. Pluckers
  91. Cedar Street Courtyard
  92. Rainforest Partnership
  93. Shuck Shack
  95. Habana Calle 6 Patio *
  96. Freebirds
  97. Gypsy Sun Vintage/Big Rig
  98. “Khabele School”
  99. West’s Wine Art and Music
  100. Light Bar Terrace
  101. Ladies are Funny Festival
  102. Nine Mile Records
  103. Iron Gate Lounge
  104. Empire Room
  105. Alice in Wonderland
  106. La Condesa/Malverde
  107. Texanza
  108. Balcones Recycling *
  109. Whip In *
  110. Jaime’s Spanish Village
  111. Juicy Tart
  112. Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
  113. Villa’s Taco Shack
  114. Partnership for Children

* Past or present Austin City Permits Client
Source: City of Austin Interactive Development Review Permitting and Inspection