As we mentioned yesterday, City Council discussed a new, restrictive noise ordinance Tuesday and didn't even tag it, which will let cops hand out tickets even if they don't have sound meters. The changes passed easily, with only council member Mike Sullivan voting against it.
Mayor Annise Parker said the city receives 60,000 noise complaints a year, and the changes to the ordinance were needed to address that problem.
Opponents argued the new law gives cops too much arbitrary power, and could endanger popular bars in dense neighborhoods, such as Rudyard's.
The key changes:
-- HPD officers can now enforce complaints about loud bass music without the need for a sound meter
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-- Fines for violating the ordinance double to $1,000 from the current $500
What's too loud?
Anything over 65 decibels during the day and 58 at night in residential areas. Businesses with special permits can go up to 75 decibels until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
For bars and clubs in residential areas, including those who were there before housing sprung up around them, this could be a huge problem. Stay tuned.