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Council approves extension to Red River pilot

Friday, October 20, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Outdoor music venues in Austin’s Red River Cultural District will have at least six more months of later noise curfews, with some City Council members suggesting a more permanent extension could be in the works. The extension of the pilot program allowing later weekend hours for live music was approved as part of the consent agenda at Thursday’s Council meeting, giving clubs in the district more hours of music to retain customers during what are typically high-volume sales hours. The program was first suggested last year as a way to increase the bottom line of typically slim-margined music venues in the downtown district that is experiencing development pressure that causes rent increases. Prior to the vote, Stubb’s general manager Ryan Garrett said the program has created an economic boost for clubs, musicians and related employees and improved relations with residents in nearby neighborhoods. Austin Neighborhoods Council president Mary Ingle spoke in favor of the extension, saying incidents of “noise trespass” have decreased since the program’s creation, though she said the city’s sound ordinance needs to be updated to better regulate and monitor certain low frequencies. Council Member Greg Casar said he’d like the next extension vote to come before Council in February – two months before its sunset – so club bookers will be able to know their show schedule times early enough, since larger acts are booked two or more months in advance. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo said she wasn’t against another extension beyond April but said a February vote would mean Council may have incomplete data.

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