An ordinance that would restrict noise levels in Downtown to 85 decibels (greater than the levels allowed in New York City and Las Vegas, but in line with those of Austin, Texas) was deferred on second reading tonight for one meeting (the next meeting was re-scheduled for Thursday, November 6). The bill is the result of a task force studying music venue noise that included Downtown residents.
I support this bill because 85 decibels is an entirely appropriate noise level in an entertainment district that includes residents. Austin's 6th Street is an awesome music district that doesn't seem hurt at all by noise restrictions. Rob Robinson has a great response to critics who argue that noise restrictions would close the music venues down. He counters that Downtown needs residents as well as tourists. (That kind of reasoned argument for balance is also behind local initiatives to leverage mixed-use for a new convention center that serves Downtown all the time. Why build a single function convention center that is only used by tourists and not by residents?)
Gail Kerr's ridiculous analogy to leveling the Smokies ignores the fact that mountains are a little more primordial and integral to the environment than Tootsies. Let's not minimize true devastation by confusing it with the inconvenience of balance.