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Private-party permitting process is a go

Friday, July 3, 2015 by Sunny Sone

After several months without word on progress, a resolution to create a permit process for private parties is moving forward.

The resolution, passed last October, was in response to neighborhood complaints about parties in the West Campus area near the University of Texas. A memo to the mayor and City Council pointed to parties thrown by Greek letter organizations as the cause for the resolution.

“Because of the increasing incidence of overcrowding, underage drinking and excessively loud music, City Council approved the resolution in an effort to provide a regulatory framework that promotes safety and improved compliance with City regulation governing private parties and events,” the memo said.

The Austin Center for Events held a stakeholder meeting in February on the UT campus, but only five people attended. Bill Manno, corporate special events manager, said the low attendance at the first stakeholder meeting necessitated another. Because many students are absent during the summer, the next chance for stakeholder input will not be until this fall, according to the memo.

With that timeline, Council will receive recommendations about a permitting process around December 2015, the memo said.

The resolution calls for code amendments to define a “private party,” for the creation of a permitting process for those private parties and an opportunity for stakeholder input – including representatives from West Campus and surrounding neighborhoods, Greek life, student government, housing cooperatives, UT and city stakeholders.

Council passed the resolution after police began stricter enforcement of the noise ordinance and suspected code violations. Former Council Member Chris Riley sponsored the resolution, which calls for a balance between reasonable nightlife and quality-of-life concerns.

Currently, the city issues no noise permits near most Greek residences, which are mostly residential zoned areas. Since the resolution passed, several large music events have taken place in the West Campus area, including RoundUp and a quasi-music festival thrown by the cooperative housing community.

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