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City Council votes in favor of later nights at music venues

Friday, April 27, 2018 by Sommer Brugal

Music venues in the Red River Cultural District can now enjoy later weekend noise curfews thanks to a unanimous vote by City Council that approved the year-old ordinance at its April 26 meeting. The ordinance’s pilot program was approved in January 2017 and studied the area between Seventh and 12th streets and between Trinity Street and Waller Creek. Though the program was originally set to run from May 1 to Nov. 1, 2017, Council approved an additional six-month pilot period, which ends this month. During the topic’s discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo thanked all who had participated and assisted in the success of the pilot program, but she also voiced the need for continued conversation. “There are still ongoing questions about how sound is measured, and getting that information can help us come up with more accurate readings,” said Tovo. “I hope that will continue to be a point of discussion at stakeholder meetings.” Council Member Ora Houston, however, voiced concern about the rising crime rate within the cultural district since the program’s onset. Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Justin Newsom reassured that there was no correlation between the two, as business owners have long complained to APD about the crime they face. “Because of that,” he said, “we decided to be more proactive and present in that area. When you have (more officers), there will be a natural increase in the number of written reports.” Despite these affirmations, Newsom said APD plans to continue looking into the numbers. The approved ordinance extends the area’s curfew one hour, with venues on Thursdays staying open until midnight, and Fridays and Saturdays until 1 a.m.

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