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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 1:39 PM
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Laura Morrison and Jeff Jack kill "Unplugged at the Grove"

My crackplog

Quote:
Noise complaint shuts down Unplugged at the Grove

By Michael Corcoran | Thursday, June 11, 2009, 08:18 PM

For the first time in its 16-year existence, KGSR’s “Unplugged at the Grove” series at Shady Grove was shut down Thursday night after a noise complaint from a neighbor. Shady Grove owner Mike Young said the restaurant is in the process of applying for a variance that will allow a ceiling of 85 decibels. According to the current noise code, Shady Grove is classified as a restaurant that must comply at 75 decibels.

Thursday’s opening act Sahara Smith was in the middle of her set when Austin Police showed up with a decibel meter and ordered the show stopped. Headliner Jimmy LaFave never played in front of a crowd estimated at 600. “Unplugged” booker Marsha Milam said the complaint came from a neighbor who told Shady Grove management that he’d call the cops next week, too.

“We’re gonna be back with live music next Thursday and the Thursday after that,” vowed Young. “I’ll pay the bands even if they only play five minutes. We’re not gonna give up the fight.”

The police also showed up at last week’s Gourds show at the Grove and issued a warning.

Young said the variance for “Unplugged” may not go before the city for more than a month.

“I think this neighbor saw a window where he could shut us down so he did,” said Milam. “We’re legitimately going through the permitting process, but it takes time.”
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 2:18 PM
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I hate them. I mean really, what a pair of screw ups. Let's haul them to the city limits and push them over the line. Hey, anyone out there who is reading this who is against high rises and density and says that it's for the good of the community to oppose them in the name of keeping Austin what it used to be like and all, Laura Morrison and Jeff Jack were also against those things. Was this for the good of the community too? Thanks for keeping Austin "Austin" and weird. Actually, what is weird is having people live in Central neighborhoods, the ones that people tend to think of when they affectionately think of Austin, and yet they seem hell bent on destroying what makes Austin unique.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 2:26 PM
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Those idiots seem to want central Austin to be a quiet suburb. No noise, no development.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 5:14 PM
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Amazing what one person can do. !!!

Personally, if you want to live in downtown or in a very dense area like this the noise code should be totally different. Besides if you move in or have been living in a place with noise like downtown you are going to have noise! Don't like it? Then freak'n move or don't move down there in the first place!
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 6:40 PM
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Good ole Liberal Austin, lie music capital of the world!
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsjv View Post
Amazing what one person can do. !!!

Personally, if you want to live in downtown or in a very dense area like this the noise code should be totally different. Besides if you move in or have been living in a place with noise like downtown you are going to have noise! Don't like it? Then freak'n move or don't move down there in the first place!
It wasn't people who moved in recently who got this done. Jeff Jack's been trying to get rid of music on Barton Springs for at least the decade I've been paying attention to him. (He was trying to get them called "night clubs" way back in the day on the ANC's email list).
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:05 PM
rjlevins rjlevins is offline
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This post has no foundation of fact, and I honestly feel that it is pointless for me to respond, but alas here I go. I just cannot understand when accusations are made without a comprehensive look at the facts.

The ordinance in question that limits restaurants to 70db was originally adopted in 1986. That was 23 years ago. I have good friends younger than that. Shady Grove is working with the city to resolve the permitting issue to allow 85db again. Until then, they can still play music at 70db.

As for Laura Morrison’s support for the music community, she and Mike Martinez are the ones pushing strongly for the adoption of the Music Department. In fact, you will see an item on the council agenda next week that establishes an organizational structure to manage and foster the growth of Austin music sponsored by Mike Martinez, Laura Morrison, and Randi Shade.

Except for perhaps some past complaints, I don’t even know what Jeff Jack has to do with anything in this conversation. I’ve heard nothing from Jeff on this topic at all.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:10 PM
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rjlevins is Laura Morrison's staffer, by the way.

Don't pretend that this requirement always existed and it's just a coincidence it's being enforced now.

The effort to force restaurants to comply with this sound level came from the new ordinance (pushed by your boss), which came from the Live Music Task Force, which, from these minutes below, was clearly a Jeff Jack / ANC effort. It's just ridiculous to try to distance your boss from this now when her entire campaign and all her actions since then have toed the ANC line.

From our friends at the Chronicle

Quote:
Although Council Member Laura Morrison, who requested the ordinance be declared an emergency, apparently has no qualms with the current sound cap, stating at that same session that some clubs are choosing to operate at 70 decibels, fellow Council Member Mike Martinez says that he's working on the creation of an appeal process for such restaurant/venues to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The minutes:

Quote:
C. PUBLIC INPUT

Robert Corbin, a South Austin Resident reported that a couple months ago he started hearing music inside his house, and discovered it was coming from a club over two miles away. He contacted the police, after which the owner of the club made adjustments. This is a recurring situation with Threadgills, located one mile away. The City’s sound ordinance exists to favor music. He believes no one should have to listen to music that is not of their choice and he feels terrorized in his own home. Does not understand why thisproblem occurs with today’s available technology. He expressed concern over young people’s safety, specifically the potential for hearing loss in front of loud speakers.

Jeff Jack, President of Zilker Neighborhood Association and member of Austin Neighborhood Council discussed some of the local clubs in his neighborhood. He supports a balance between music and livability. The City’s current sound ordinance is ineffective, especially with a growing downtown, making entertainment districts important. Also, defined hours of operation are essential and should be limited near residential areas. Venue owners need to agree to restrictive covenants. At 85 DB, the loudness of sound is detrimental to hearing. Austin Bergstrom Airport can not have residences within a certain distance because of associated noise. Enforcement is an issue, sometimes police do not respond to a complaint in a timely manner or after the police have left, the music is cranked back up. It would be ideal if music people served as their own monitors. He would like the Live Music Task Force to develop new rules and take into consideration tougher penalties and a special zoning classification for music.

Tressie Damron, a resident of Castle Heights neighborhood has experienced problems with loud music. She would like more education and training at the police cadet level. Right now the solution for reducing the noise is complaint driven. Clubs need sound proofing and roof-top venues should not be allowed.

Gardner Sumner, a member of Zilker Neighborhood Executive Board, lives on Treadwell Street and complains that noise comes from all directions into the night. He requests to strengthen the noise ordinance, not weaken it. In addition, the ordinance is not effective if the police do not enforce it. He does not understand why sound amplification needs to be so powerful as to travels two miles away. It is not right for people to not be able to sleep in their homes at night.

Vicki Faust, a homeowner in Travis Heights lives behind Continental Club, near Guero’s restaurant. Lately, the noise has gotten louder. She spoke with Botticelli’s South Congress owners when the restaurant first opened and they were agreeable. She now fears the local noise will hurt her Bed & Breakfast business. The two most difficult things are parking and noise. She has no complaints about Continental Club; it’s the outside venues. She would like the Live Music Task Force to identify outdoor venues near residential areas and develop special considerations. The only options she currently has to deal with noise problems are to call the police or sue the venue owners.

Michael Lahrman, a band manager stated it disturbs him what other people refer to as noise, to him noise is traffic. People are taking advantage of their neighborhoods; they may not have professional sound or set-up. He thinks Threadgills is a wonderful venue with reasonable and tasteful music. Some restaurants play music at happy hour to draw crowds, but don’t have a sound person onsite. He would like to include buses or the interstate (if it’s over 85 DB) in the noise ordinance. The answer is not to have attendees wearing headphones at a concert. Unfortunate that people are having difficulty sleeping and that needs to be recognized, but we need to protect the people who are doing it right.

Member Saundra Kirk explained that noise is any unwanted sound and asked Michael Lahrman to clarify his statement on bringing the music industry down. He responded that downtown condos will continue to pose a problem with festivals and live music as the residents complain the noise is bothersome.

Gail Armstrong, a South Austin resident for the past 30 years stated the noise ordinance is a joke. She has never had a painter invade her home; it is only the musician, who enters her private residence to perform. The types of music coming into her house are neither the choice she prefers to hear nor when she wants to hear it. She believes this situation is not right and it happens on a daily basis.

Bill Neale, moved from Dallas to Austin in 1974 and currently live on Kinney Avenue in South Austin. He experiences a lot of problems trying to sleep because of non-permitted music, most recently with Enchanted Forest that has outside parties, which after the police leave, they turn the music back up. He has called the police to report a nearby Church. Music coming from South Austin Museum of Popular Culture and Austin Pizza can be heard in his living room. He believes the “Live Music Capital of the World” mentality attributes to the problem. There are different things that make this town great like bicycling and books, not just music. He expressed a concern for the impact of loud music on kids.

Jerry Jackson, resident of South Austin in the Circle C subdivision, used to do sound and productions on a professional basis. He suggested that one solution could be to require all outside venues to have on site sound engineer. The problem arises with how the equipment is set up. He calls the police all the time about neighbors having parties that are too loud. Venues and clubs are located throughout the neighborhoods and police have problems finding the source of the sound. It is not the loudness of the sound, but the articulation, which can be controlled or contained. 85 DB may seem loud, but every yard man is making the same loudness. Lowering music at a venue will affect the patrons and could reduce opportunities.

Teresa Ferguson, a Music Commissioner explained that venues are the incubators for Austin’s live music industry; part of the conversation is about defending musicians and preserving Austin’s culture. In regulating music in neighborhoods, it is difficult to differentiate between a downtown neighborhood and an entertainment district. She suggested examining the complaint driven solution. She asked if anyone has noticed improvement or difference since meters are now used by the police. She proposed having on City staff a sound engineer to approve buildings for live music as a beneficial service. If the DB is lowered, it will be overkill and should not be the first step. There needs to be better communication on best practices, residents talking with venues, enforcement and incentives for sound proofing.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:11 PM
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Interesting points RJ


What time did this occur? What time does the ordinance kick in? Or is it 24/7?
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAM View Post
Interesting points RJ


What time did this occur? What time does the ordinance kick in? Or is it 24/7?
The complaint was at 8:30PM. I think the ordinance is 24/7 AFAIK. And it's 70db, not 75db. Quieter than a conversation; far, far from anywhere CLOSE to harmful sound levels. OSHA allows 90-95db constant for an 8 hour workday.

Check out this chart. A telephone dial tone is 80dB. I guess we should be protecting telemarketers from the terrible harm to their hearing?
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html



Also, for RJ --

Does THIS look like it's from 1986?

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/d...plan041707.pdf
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/developme...usic_venue.pdf
http://www.cityofaustin.org/edims/do....cfm?id=126589

There is specific targeting of music venues in this ordinance. If the sound is a problem, then why are motorized vehicles (all louder than 70db), construction, loud conversations, birds, dogs, etc all not banned 24/7? Shouldn't there be enforcement targeting them? At least a dog permit must be required, right? Any bark is going to be over the 70db level.

Last edited by hookem; Jun 12, 2009 at 8:46 PM.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:41 PM
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Originally Posted by rjlevins View Post
This post has no foundation of fact, and I honestly feel that it is pointless for me to respond, but alas here I go. I just cannot understand when accusations are made without a comprehensive look at the facts.

The ordinance in question that limits restaurants to 70db was originally adopted in 1986. That was 23 years ago. I have good friends younger than that. Shady Grove is working with the city to resolve the permitting issue to allow 85db again. Until then, they can still play music at 70db.

As for Laura Morrison’s support for the music community, she and Mike Martinez are the ones pushing strongly for the adoption of the Music Department. In fact, you will see an item on the council agenda next week that establishes an organizational structure to manage and foster the growth of Austin music sponsored by Mike Martinez, Laura Morrison, and Randi Shade.

Except for perhaps some past complaints, I don’t even know what Jeff Jack has to do with anything in this conversation. I’ve heard nothing from Jeff on this topic at all.
Maybe she supports the Music Department so she can control the decibels and spread of live music.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 8:49 PM
rjlevins rjlevins is offline
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Here is a link to the 1986 Ordinance. See Part 6(b)5:

Ordinance 860424-D

Live entertainment may be permitted; provided, however, that amplified sound not exceed 70 decibels when measured at the property line of the licensed premises, as that term is defined in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
___

There is a good faith effort to help mitigate the impact to established live music venues. Please also see this ordinance sponsored by Mike and Laura to help provide an opportunity for resolution for those venues experiencing problems: Ordinance 20090423-050

This ordinance waives the fees associated with a change of use permit or a conditional use permit for those established outdoor live music venues which already retain the appropriate zoning.
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 9:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rjlevins View Post
Here is a link to the 1986 Ordinance. See Part 6(b)5:

Ordinance 860424-D

Live entertainment may be permitted; provided, however, that amplified sound not exceed 70 decibels when measured at the property line of the licensed premises, as that term is defined in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
___
So that just repeats the TABC code, and doesn't say anything about current enforcement with sound meters, etc... those things are new. What about all the recent directives to the police regarding enforcement? Why are they not measuring dog barks or loud TVs at residence property lines? I know there are complaints about that. Probably more so than the music.

What do you recommend as the best way to complain to Laura Morrison regarding our displeasure with the targeting of these Austin institutions? When will each application for the 85db permit be voted on? Will Laura Morrison provide that info in a concise form (not the city council web site or meeting agendas) for her constituents, so they may be present and speak on these applications?
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 11:57 PM
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This is just horrible. What the hell are these people thinking. And why did they decide to complain now of all times (hmm, I wonder...). As a community we definitely need to do something about this. I mean what is next? Isn't ACL going to be way louder than anything Shady Grove will ever have? -shudder-

But more importantly I think, we need to support Shady Grove. This is an Austin institution that has finally decided to fight this ridiculous ordinance. If they really are going to do this, they will need all of our support to make change happen.
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 12:46 AM
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I hate it when people "get old".....I am not exactly young at 45 but I definitely don't feel like an "old" person, idiots like these reinforce that fact.

15 years ago these same people would have been up in arms about what they are pushing for now. One guy I know got tired of what Seattle had become and moved here, he see's the same exact thing happening here.
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 2:38 AM
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point for me is the power of one or two activist. Make noise people!
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 6:18 AM
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I'd like to see it be made very well known that those two have spearheaded this. Let the voters know about it so we'll know who to keep out of city hall. People like them are ruining what makes Austin "Austin".
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 3:00 PM
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rjlevins needs to be made to address this quote from the Chronicle:

Quote:
Although Council Member Laura Morrison, who requested the ordinance be declared an emergency, apparently has no qualms with the current sound cap, stating at that same session that some clubs are choosing to operate at 70 decibels, fellow Council Member Mike Martinez says that he's working on the creation of an appeal process for such restaurant/venues to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
(I'm rooming in at the hospital and coming home with baby later today; not much time obviously; others will have to take this).
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 7:52 PM
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Yea, I definitely would like to hear from rjlevins. Because what it is really starting to look like is that in the press Council Member Morrison is riding the fence. Obviously she can't come out opposing music in Austin. That would be political suicide. She is lining up all her political ducks so that if anyone (like this forum) accuses her of being behind this assault on the fabric of Austin, she can just point (or have one of her aides point) to a few actions that make her seem all for the "keeping Austin weird" (at least superficially). But when you look at her actions and the people who she associates with, it starts to become much more clear what her intentions are.
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 7:58 PM
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A few interesting points from M1EK post above



Member Saundra Kirk explained that noise is any unwanted sound.....

Gail Armstrong, a South Austin resident for the past 30 years stated the noise ordinance is a joke. She has never had a painter invade her home; it is only the musician, who enters her private residence to perform. The types of music coming into her house are neither the choice she prefers to hear nor when she wants to hear it. She believes this situation is not right and it happens on a daily basis.

85 DB may seem loud, but every yard man is making the same loudness. Lowering music at a venue will affect the patrons and could reduce opportunities.


So as music is unwanted noise entering your windows, so are your neighbors lawn mowers. I guess the police better start cracking down on those too.....

8:30 does seem a little early to start complaining.
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