Don Pitts,head of the Music Office, Greg Gurnsey, head of the City’s Planning division, Clara Hilling, who issues Sound Permits, the Music Commission, and others will be addressing the current, thoroughly messed up Sound Ordinance (section 9-2 in the Code) The actions are necessary, in large part, to correct mistakes that were made on February 10th, in rushing a flawed ordinance into law.
I stayed up on the night that the Ordinance was passed, and caught the one provision that stood out as the most ridiculous, namely… measuring decibel level readings “at the source” (in front of the speakers!) instead of measuring at the property line, as it had been. That was amended, with an additional “emergency” Ordinance, 2 weeks later.
That leaves several more bad insertions into the ordinance that are now starting to raise their ugly heads, and must be addressed. Therefore, tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Austin Music Commission.
From the Agenda ( http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/document.cfm?id=155555 )
D. NEW BUSINESS
1. Sound Ordinance Chapter 9-2 review – Clara Hilling and Greg Guernsey in attendance to
One of the mistakes being discussed will be the decision to apply the “100 – 600 ft” rule to ALL permits under section 9-2. In the past, the rule applied to only Temporary Sound Permits. Currently, it must be applied to Outdoor Music Venue Permits, according to the flawed Code amendment.
That, coupled with a new and completely different legal interpretation of the term “Property Zoned & used as residential” … has created a quandary that has to be eliminated.
Currently, a Restaurant closer than 100 ft to any use consider by Austin legal to be residential, cannot get an Approved Outdoor Music Venue Permit, at all.
The term “residential” which in the past referred to ONLY Single Family Residences, is currently being ruled upon, by Austin legal staff, as including apartments, townhouses, condos &, significantly, RESIDENTIAL TOWERS (!)
This also affects the hours allowed for Restaurants that are closer than 600 ft to what is now being defined as “Residential” by the City of Austin legal eagle that calls these things … (cough – Brent Lloyd?)
The Ordinance passed on Feb 10th, was a blatant maneuver to subvert the process, with a rush to passage, on an emergency basis, on the Consent Agenda (no Council or Public discussion whatsoever), while failing (waiting?) to add the proposed Ordinance to the Council Agenda a mere 2-1/2 hours prior to passage, whereupon it went into immediate effect, it having been declared an emergency.
Many of the changes that made their way into the ordinance came directly from, or found their way into, a letter sent to the Mayor and City Council, by DANA, a neighborhood group that recently lost status, in several respects. I have a feeling that DANA may have overreached just a bit, on this one.
The problem remains, however, that DANA, and other “stakeholders” had to have one or more willing Council members, their staff, and their legal advisor involved, in making this happen the way it did, so expect a lot of the same kind of maneuvering for control that got us to this point, to remain as a proposed solution to the current problem. Inertia can be very difficult to overcome.
Austin City Hall
301 West 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701
Room 1027 (Enter Cesar Chavez side, 1st room on he right after entry)