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Friday, March 27, 2015 by Sunny Sone
Police to enforce noise ordinance during RoundUp
The Austin Police Department says it will enforce the city’s noise ordinance in the West Campus area during the University of Texas RoundUp festivities, scheduled for this weekend. RoundUp is a nationally known weekend of parties and live performances put on annually by the UT Greek community.
In recent years, the city has not rigidly enforced the noise ordinance around the university neighborhood. Last fall, however, the city’s Public Assembly Code Enforcement team told members of the Greek community and the cooperative housing community — whose houses also host parties and live performances — that they would renew focus on enforcing code around the neighborhood.
The city shut down several gatherings for violations of the noise ordinance after the meeting last fall. That was the last formal meeting between the team and the Greek community, though Austin police officer Will Harvey said they have met informally and completed inspections since that time.
The noise ordinance prohibits use of audio emitted beyond the property in excess of 75 decibels during the day for residential areas and allows no sound beyond the property between 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. The city zones most fraternity and sorority houses residential. Police will be around the university area with sound meters to take decibel readings during the day.
An offense, according to the City Code, is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Harvey said enforcement should come as no surprise to Greek organizations.
“Why should one area of town or one district of town have to abide by the rules, and yet West Campus wasn’t having to?” Harvey said.
Currently, the city issues no noise permits near residential zoned areas. The previous City Council passed a resolution last November calling for a stakeholder group to re-evaluate the permitting process for parties in residential areas, but the ordinance remains in place.
Fraternities book well-known DJs and performers for RoundUp to draw attendance, including rapper Waka Flocka Flame last year. The event began as a spring homecoming celebration for alumni hosted by student government, and over the years has evolved into a weekend of parties exclusively for college students.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin Code: Formerly known as Code Compliance, this is the city department that handles enforcement of city code violations. Its work is complaint-driven.
Austin Police Department: the law enforcement entity for the City of Austin.
University of Texas: The preeminent state university whose flagship is located in Austin.