Turn It Down: Houston City Council Passes Stricter Noise Ordinance

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Say what?
As we mentioned yesterday, City Council discussed a new, restrictive noise ordinance Tuesday and didn't even tag it, which will let cops hand out tickets even if they don't have sound meters. The changes passed easily, with only council member Mike Sullivan voting against it.

Mayor Annise Parker said the city receives 60,000 noise complaints a year, and the changes to the ordinance were needed to address that problem.

Opponents argued the new law gives cops too much arbitrary power, and could endanger popular bars in dense neighborhoods, such as Rudyard's.

The key changes:

-- HPD officers can now enforce complaints about loud bass music without the need for a sound meter

-- Fines for violating the ordinance double to $1,000 from the current $500

What's too loud?

Anything over 65 decibels during the day and 58 at night in residential areas. Businesses with special permits can go up to 75 decibels until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For bars and clubs in residential areas, including those who were there before housing sprung up around them, this could be a huge problem. Stay tuned.

Location Info

Rudyard's

2010 Waugh, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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25 comments
Jennifer Patterson
Jennifer Patterson

This is all terrible except for "No lawnmowers or leafblowers before 8 a.m., as opposed to 7 a.m." Richard Connelly & Houston Press-- Do you have any links to the changed law, especially regarding the new morning start time regulations? I'm at war with the leaf blowers at the Menil. My property maintenance insists the law is still 7 a.m. 

Duane
Duane

I agree with the noise restrictions.  I wish they would include loud mufflers for cars and motorcycles.  The noise from them is just noise for noise sake.  Glass-packs should be banned. 

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

We're better off this way. The old ordinance was unrealistically restrictive. Plus, the SPL limit was A-weighted, so it virtually ignored the low frequencies produced by idiots with overpowered subs in their cars. To me, I'll take a cop's judgement over a 58 dB limit. A box fan is louder than that.

Christopher KrisKrunk Folmer
Christopher KrisKrunk Folmer

Some of the venues I have been to neat neighborhoods are way too loud anyways, maybe now they will hire decent soundmen and have an enjoybale sound that won't blast your ears out.

Treborso
Treborso

"No lawnmowers or leafblowers before 8 a.m"  This is ridiculous.  I have 6 acres to mow and my skin doctor has repeatedly removed pre-cancerous skin lesions.  This law forces me to mow later in the day in the hotter sun (more UV).  What about my rights to protect my life????  I already wear sun block clothing, a wide brimmed hat, etc. but they are not 100% effective, thus I begin mowing at first light, now I can't. 

Guest
Guest

Living close to Washington, it hasn't been the bars in and of themselves that have been the problem, for me at least. It's been those who loiter in the parking lots afterwards, on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, blasting heavy bass filled music from their cars until 3 am. 

Or those bars that decide to set up shop in their unfenced parking lot and blast music from there.  Never had a complaint until they started doing that. It's just plain senseless. 

The Mahas
The Mahas

To the dipshits who commented in support of this measure, get the fuck out of Montrose.

James
James

I hope this makes an impact on the morons who drive around with ear-slitting bass coming from their cars. It has to be one of the rudest and trashiest things around.

Anse
Anse

I have hung out at Rudyard's many a night when even loud-ass bands are playing upstairs and I can't ever remember the noise from the music being a big deal. The crowds on the patio, though, are another matter. The city passed a smoking ban and forced all those smokers outside. Maybe the solution is to let bars have designated areas indoors for smokers, though I'll concede that a smaller joint like Rudyard's may not be able to accommodate all that well.

UG
UG

while this may be onerous to bars and clubs, it will make neighborhoods much more liveable, and property values will go up.

mexican american woman
mexican american woman

And sometimes people r so Damn delicate and can't stand any noise. We can't enjoy shit now in days!

AuntiMatter
AuntiMatter

The solution is simple: If you don't like loud music near your house, don't move near an existing bar. If you own a bar and move into a neighborhood, don't be an asshole. You can mitigate noise levels and still provide good music to, and a good time for, your customers.

Alex Wukman
Alex Wukman

City Council should have tabled the noise ordinance discussion until all stake holders were represented, not just home owners and civic associations. As it is written the new noise ordinance is an unconstitutionally vague regulation that will unfairly penalize small business owners. And now is not the time to burden job creators with ambiguous ordinances and regulations that will kill jobs and take money out of the local economy.

Mugen
Mugen

What a load of crap.  Stupid regulations that could hurt the Houston music scene.  Thank you anyway Mike Sullivan (R) for voting against this BS.

Jennifer Patterson
Jennifer Patterson

According to Sgt. Glenn Shepherd, unfortunately leaf blowers and lawnmowers can still begin at 7 a.m. The time has not changed to 8 a.m. You might want to edit the article to reflect this.

guest
guest

I don't think this is a Montrose problem. From what I understand the change was driven by the massive rise in noise complaints that resulted when noisy bars and clubs opened up along Washington Avenue, next to already established residential streets.

Diane
Diane

Amen.  They should give $1000 tickets to those jerks with blasting vibrating bass from their cars and not worry so much with small businesses that provide our community jobs.  The city could raise alot more money ticketing cars rather than ticketing bars.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

My sentiments exactly.  These people should be stopped. I live near a major street so I know that sound first hand.   As for clubs, I bet the problem is more the loud drunk people late at night leaving the clubs than the music itself.

Sadhoustonian
Sadhoustonian

This ordinance effects more than just those morons. Music venues and bars that have been in the community for 30+ years cannot comply with a 58 dB noise ceiling. That level is quieter than a conversation at dinner. If a police officer simply does not like a particular bar or venue or is in a bad mood he or she now has the power to ticket said bar or venue without a meters reading. This is sad and disappointing for our city.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Want livable? Move to the burbs. No fun to ruin your peace.

Texasota
Texasota

I think we have different definitions of "liveable"

James
James

Why should people be forced to tolerate your noise? Maybe it's not that people are more "delicate", but that some people have absolutely no regard for others. The stricter law is just an unfortunate result of people abusing their privileges.

The Mahas
The Mahas

Same old story. Walter's on Washington was there long before any of those pricks decided to live there. And they were harassed by ONE couple for years with noise complaints.

The Mahas
The Mahas

"Abusing their privileges" ... are you talking about the asshole suburbanites who move into townhomes near established venues, then abuse their right to call 9-1-1 by making a noise complaint? Thought so.

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