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Austin’s sound ordinance still awaiting update, official saysComparing noise allowances
Austin’s sound ordinance still awaiting update, official says
When Community Impact Newspaper reported on Austin’s sound ordinance in its February 2011 issue, several stakeholders had indicated that an overhaul of the city’s noise policy was coming sometime soon.
“We have heard it is likely to happen,” Austin Music Program Manager Don Pitts said at the time. However, nearly one year later, the policy has yet to be reviewed.
“I don’t think anyone [within city leadership] wanted to do it,” Pitts said. “Any time you mention the sound ordinance, neighborhoods and residents get upset, and the music community gets upset. I don’t think we’ve totally gotten to where we can just relax and talk about the sound ordinance.”
The Austin City Council instead passed a resolution that modified the sound ordinance in December, an item that Pitts called a Band-Aid approach to the city’s noise policy.
“It was mainly some cleanup of the ordinance,” he said, which primarily targeted temporary events held in conjunction with seasonal festivals. Under the resolution, organizers of an event that sell alcohol must obtain liability insurance before the event.
The resolution also adjusted deadlines for permit applications. In order to obtain a 24-hour live music permit, applications must be submitted no later than 21 days prior to the event, and multiday special event permit applications must be submitted no later than 30 days before the event.
Pitts said the new rules will help city staff and code enforcement officials work better with event organizers to ensure the events follow city policy and have the correct permits.
“This year we’ll also be working with applicants during setup, so we’re not just waiting for them to get everything up and then [going to] bust their chops the following day,” he said.