The struggle between White Oak Music Hall and its Near Northside neighbors claiming the open-air venue disrupts their quality of life appears set to continue through at least the end of the year.
Wednesday morning, according to court records, a Harris County District Judge granted a modified temporary injunction regarding the lawsuit originally filed in December 2016, which seeks to prohibit all outdoor concerts and other events on the White Oak property that use amplified sound. The new order permits four such events per month between now and the trial.
A different motion filed this week noted that the trial in the case, originally scheduled for this month, has been re-set due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which heavily damaged the city’s court matrix of court buildings. According to KPRC, the next scheduled date in the case is in December.
“Plaintiffs have presented some evidence that Defendants’ outdoor music concerts at the Lawn at White Oak Music Hall and amplified outdoor events on the Patio, the Lawn, and the Pavilion [at neighboring Raven Tower] have and may substantially interfere with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their properties by causing unreasonable discomfort or annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities if Defendants are allowed to host such shows without limitation,” notes Judge Kristen B. Hawkins’ ruling.
“Plaintiffs have shown that they would not have adequate remedy at law and would suffer imminent and irreparable harm if defendants were permitted to use unrestricted outdoor amplification during an unlimited number of outdoor shows at the Patio, the Lawn and the Pavilion between now and trial," it adds.
For White Oak, Judge Hawkins writes “Defendants have shown that they would suffer irreparable harm if the Court wholly enjoins them from hosting outdoor shows and events on the Patio, the Lawn and the Pavilion between now and trial."
The judge attached a number of conditions to the order, stating that the venue must provide 48 hours' written’ notice of when sound checks on Lawn shows are scheduled to begin, and 72 hours for any events on the Patio; must not exceed a level of 75 db at 15 Hz as measurable at any point on the property line during such shows; install sound-monitoring devices on all sides of the property; and to provide weekly reports of the results to the court and opposing counsel.
The ruling was issued ahead of Thursday evening’s concert by the Harlem-based rap group A$AP Mob. The show did not go over very well with representatives of the plaintiffs in the case. A statement from the offices of Dolcefino Consulting, issued to the media in all-caps Friday morning, read:
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THE COMMUNITY IS OUTRAGED AFTER THE PROFANITY LACED OUTDOOR CONCERT HELD LAST NIGHT WHICH OFFENDED THOUSANDS OF HOUSTONIANS. CRIS FELDMAN STATED, “THIS IS AN OUTRAGE AND MUST END. LITTLE CHILDREN ARE BEING KEPT UP ON SCHOOL NIGHTS BY PROFANE MUSIC BLARING IN PEOPLE’S HOMES.” WHITE OAK RESIDENTS WILL BE ON HAND TO CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE END TO CONCERTS AT THIS VENUE.
Cris Feldman is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. A press conference has been called for 1 p.m. today at the venue, the statement added.
Looking ahead, the only shows currently listed by Raven Tower are Adam Bricks (October 23) and Libby Koch (November 3). White Oak’s website has three shows set for the Lawn during the remainder of 2017.
Primus: October 21 (this Saturday)
Ministry + Death Grips: November 10
Alt-J: November 17